In a shocking revelation by ABP News, the viral image of the young boy standing next to the dead body of the Delhi sewer worker who died due to asphyxiation last week, may not be of his son. The woman posing as his ‘wife’ Rani, may also not be his wife, claims ABP News. She is, in fact, his maternal aunt and the young boy is one of her sons from her estranged husband, said parents of Anil.
As reported by ABP News, Anil’s parents have said that the woman who has been posing as Anil’s wife is actually his mausi (aunt) and are upset about not having clarified with them. They have accused her of putting up the drama for getting the money. Yesterday, the ‘wife’ Rani had also thanked people for raising funds for her and her three children over social media.
I’d like to thank those people. All I want is to educate my 3 children& ensure that they lead a good life. I’d be extremely grateful if you could help me in this: Rani, wife of man who died of asphyxiation while cleaning Delhi Jal board Sewer on funds raised by social media users pic.twitter.com/iAt0tarSvR
— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2018
As of now, Rs. 50 lakh (and counting) have been raised over social media for the ‘wife and children’ of Anil, who, according to ABP News report, may not even exist.
It all started when a journalist with Hindustan Times, Shiv Sunny, tweeted the heartbreaking image of the child next to the dead body of Anil on 17th September.
The boy walked up to his father’s body at a crematorium, moved the sheet from the face, held the cheeks with both hands, just said ‘papa’ & began sobbing.
The man was yet another poor labourer who died in a Delhi sewer on Friday. Family did not have money even for cremating him. pic.twitter.com/4nOWD9Aial
— Shiv Sunny (@shivsunny) September 17, 2018
In his tweet, he had claimed that the family did not even have money to cremate him. With over 17,000 retweets, the image touched a chord in the hearts of netizens and help poured in from across the globe. Soon, bank account details of Rani, the ‘wife’, was put out and even a Ketto, the crowdsourcing website, was set up.
Through Ketto alone, Rs. 27 lakh were raised.
By sharing the picture of that boy crying next to his father’s body, I was only doing my job as a reporter.
But I am overwhelmed by the goodness of people. Via @ketto alone, they contributed nearly ₹27 lakh for the family.
I now hope the kids will eat better & have a future.
— Shiv Sunny (@shivsunny) September 18, 2018
The reporter who had originally tweeted the picture had quoted the ‘son’ who had recounted his experience of having accompanied his father to the sewer.
On Monday, the boy recounted how he would often accompany his father to work, but hadn’t yet entered a sewer. “My father would enter the sewer in his underpants and I would wait outside guarding his clothes and shoes from thieves. My father would say it still wasn’t yet time for me to enter the sewers,” he said.
On days he stayed back home, he would eagerly wait for his father to return. “My sisters are too young to play with me. My mother is always busy with work. My father would take me out to the street to play with me. Sometimes I would fight with him, but he wouldn’t get angry,” said the boy.
The Delhi government, too, had pledged Rs. 10 lakh to the family.
However, as per ABP News’ revelation that Anil was actually unmarried, but some neighbours said that he lived with his aunt. Anil’s parents are upset because no one from the media bothered to clarify with them and the money will now to go the beneficiary, who according to them, is not deserving.
Update: Uday Foundation, the NGO which helped crowdfund almost Rs. 27 lakh through Ketto for the family of the deceased sewer worker has released a statement that the funds will be transferred once thorough verification is done.
Along with @shivsunny and Ketto, we’re looking into the news report and will share an update soon. No funds have been transferred uptil now and the funds raised will only be transferred to the beneficiary (the boy in the picture) following a thorough checking of the facts and completion of the verification procedure.
– Uday Foundation
We will update the story as we get more information.