5 Dalits Choke To Death In Well

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Chandigarh: Five men, including two teenagers, trying to revive a disused well in a parched Jind village on Monday died after reportedly inhaling a gas released unexpectedly from its depths.

The victims, Mahipal Singh, 35, Dinesh Kumar, 24, Sanjay Kumar, 23, Sukhchain, 18, and Mohan, 17, were all Dalits and residents of Nidana village.

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Their bodies were fished out of the well after residents released more water into it from a nearby pond under the supervision of deputy commissioner (DC) Vinay Singh and SP Rakesh Arya.

Nidana residents told TOI they were reeling under a severe water crisis that had forced them, over the past few months, to buy drinking water. The water from the village tubewells is not potable. Things came to a head recently when residents found themselves struggling for water for other uses as well as the tubewells began to dry up, and that’s why some of them decided to attempt reviving a well that had not been used for five years. The well, which had some water at a depth of around 15 feet.

Eyewitnesses said Mohan was the first to go inside. When he stopped responding, Dinesh, his uncle, went inside as well, and after a while stopped replying. The episode recurred three more times as the other victims climbed down, one-by-one, to rescue the two. A probe has been ordered into the deaths.

Jind is among nine Haryana districts facing water shortage. According to government data, Jind needs 115.30 million litres of water daily, but gets just 55.60.

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