Saturday, July 2

Jihad drowned, doctors say after autopsy


Four-year-old Jihad who fell hundreds of feet down into an unsealed abandoned deep tube well in Dhaka’s Shahjahanpur area died of drowning, doctors said today.

After performing autopsy, Professor Dr Habibuzzaman Chowdhury, head of Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s forensic department, made the revelation this morning.

“The death is due to drowning. We performed tests and ascertained that Jihad had all symptoms of drowning” he told reporters at a press conference at the hospital premises.

“Jihad had marks on his head. But he drowned before the head injury could prove fatal.”

According to the doctor, the boy survived in the depths of the well, more than 250 feet, for about an hour after he fell down the well around 4:00pm on Friday.

“Jihad died around 5:00pm-5:30pm on Friday,” Prof Habibuzzaman said in reply to a query and added that the child suffered suffocation before he was provided with oxygen.

Yesterday, Jihad was pulled out around 2:45pm after a near 24 hours of efforts filled with drama, courage from some volunteers and a display of incompetency from the authorities.

Less than half-an-hour before Jihad was rescued by a team of local volunteers, the fire service rescue team called off their search saying the child was not inside the well.

Their call came around 12 hours after junior Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan expressed doubts on whether the child had fallen into the well at all.

The rescue effort, filled with chaos, was being telecasted live since Friday night. People throughout the nation were discussing the issue everywhere.

After the boy was pulled out, locals went frenzy and smashed some nearby establishments chanting slogans against the government alleging negligence of the rescuers.

The victim’s father filed a case with Shahjahanpur Police Station against the well contractor Abdus Salam and Bangladesh Railway official Jahangir Alam alleging negligence of duty.

A three-member body was formed, led by Prof Habibuzzaman, to perform autopsy on the child. Their report was prepared by around 10:00am today.

The body of Jihad has been handed over to the relatives, as confirmed by the victim’s uncle Monju. Jihad will be buried in his ancestral home in Shariatpur, he said.