2-year-old dies after falling in uncovered manhole in Karachi

Published September 21, 2021
Police said that a high-rise building was being constructed in the area where a dumper (loaded truck) had damaged the cover of the manhole. — Reuters/File
Police said that a high-rise building was being constructed in the area where a dumper (loaded truck) had damaged the cover of the manhole. — Reuters/File

A two-year-old boy died after falling in an uncovered manhole in Karachi's Garden West area, police and relatives said on Tuesday.

The incident triggered a protest, which was also joined by a PTI lawmaker, by the infant's family and residents of the area.

Garden Station House Officer (SHO) Imdad Khowaja said that the infant, Hamza, fell down in an uncovered manhole near Fatima Jinnah College. His body was found a considerable time after his fall as his family began searching for him when he went missing on the street, the official said.

Police said a high-rise building was being constructed in the area where a dumper (loaded truck) had damaged the cover of the manhole.

Garden Assistant Commissioner Sherina Junejo, along with police officers, visited the infant's family and assured them of every possible cooperation to bring the culprits to justice. Junejo said whoever was responsible — whether it was the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB), local administration, or the builder — would be taken to task.

After the tragedy, the manhole was repaired and covered properly, according to residents, who were angered by the child's death.

PTI leader Khurram Sher Zaman also met with the grieving family. He told media the incident was a "matter of shame for the Sindh government as people are dying after falling in nullas (drains), open manholes, or being bitten and killed by dogs but the rulers are only offering prayers in Sindh Assembly on a daily basis".

"Chief minister Sindh and others should be ashamed," he lashed out.

The legislator said the provincial government did not bother to protect the life and property of its citizens. People were dying of HIV in Larkana and being bitten and killed by dogs in Thar, he added.

Zaman said a case should be registered against the chief minister, Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) administrator and the local government minister in connection with the infant's death. He also urged the chief justice to take notice of the incident.

Meanwhile, the child's grandfather told the media that the family was contemplating registering a first information report (FIR) against local administration officials. He said some people were saying that the builder of the nearby under-construction building was responsible. However, he added that it was the responsibility of the local administration to cover the manhole.

The Garden SHO said a case had not been registered yet.

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