BAGLUNG, Jan 10: After giving birth to six daughters, Dil Bahadur Gharti and Jasmati Gharti of Tarakhola-4 finally welcomed a son to their family. It was the social pressure which forced them to have children despite delivering half a dozen daughters. The couple was on cloud nine after giving birth to a son in their old age.
They named him Ayush. The couple raised him with love and care, expecting him to be their walking stick in the twilight years of their life. Sadly, their much-loved son could not even see his fourth birthday in this mortal world.
On Tuesday, Ayush, a nursery-class student at Nepal Secondary School, returned home with his friends and sisters. As his parents were busy in household works, he went to play at the shed of a neighbor, Yam Bahadur Khatri, with his sister and a friend. A fire which caught the shed cut short his life at four and also dented his parents' dreams.
The heartbreaking incident also killed Ayush's six-year-old sister Ritu and his friend Ranish Roka. Six-year-old Ranish was the son of neighbor Rudra Bahadur Roka. It had been two years since the shed was lying unused at the neighbor's yard.
Jit Bahadur Khatri, chairperson of Tarakhola Rural Municipality-4, speculated that the children themselves might have lit the fire.
"As no one lived in the shed, the children could not be rescued. The shed got engulfed in the flames in no time as there were stacks of hay being stored in the upper storey of the shed," said chairperson Khatri, adding, "We have learnt that the children had locked the door while playing because of which they couldn't escape the fire."
By the time people reached there for rescue, it was already too late, said Khatri. The fire, which erupted at around 4:30 pm on Tuesday, was brought under control at around 7:30 pm. Police doused the fire with the help of the locals. Police personnel from the Area Police Office (APO), Tarakhola recovered three bodies of the children.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Dipak Regmi of the District Police Office (DPO), Baglung, informed that preliminary investigations revealed that the children themselves had lit the fire. "Maybe, the children had lit the fire to keep them warm but ended up losing their lives," said SP Regmi.
The whole Tarakhola village has been grief-stricken after the death of the three little children.
"As of now, we are mourning their death," said ward chair Regmi, adding, "We will definitely offer help to the victim's family as soon as the chairperson and chief administrative officer of the rural municipality return to office."
A team of government officials led by the Chief District Officer (CDO) Ved Prasad Kharel reached on the site on Wednesday to hand over Rs. 100,000 to the victim's family. Yam Bahadur Khatri whose shed was damaged by the fire was offered Rs. 8,000 as relief. The dead bodies of the children were taken to Galkot Primary Health Center, Harichaur for postmortem. Later they were brought back to Tara for funeral.