New Delhi: Three sisters -- aged two, four and eight -- were found dead in their house here with autopsy reports suggesting that they died because of hunger, officials said on Wednesday. The government has begun a magisterial probe into the incident that has shocked people in the richest state of country.
Police said the three victims aged two, four and eight years, were found unconscious in their one-room house by their neighbours at around 1 p.m. on Tuesday in Mandawali area of east Delhi.
No injury marks were found on the bodies, he said.
"When their neighbours went to the house, they discovered that the girls were numb while their mother, who was also present in the house, did not know anything," said Deputy Commissioner of Police, East, Pankaj Kumar Singh.
The mother, along with the neighbours, took the kids to the Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) Hospital, where they were declared dead.
"The family had shifted to Mandawali at a relative's place a few days back," said Singh.
The father, a casual labourer, had lost his e-rickshaw and has been missing since Tuesday morning.
The minors' mother, the police said, is mentally challenged, and was unable to look after her children.
While police claimed that the case was still being investigated and that the cause of death was not yet known, Medical Superintendent at LBS Hospital, Amita Saxena said the kids died of hunger, going by the first autopsy conducted at the hospital.
She said a second post-mortem was conducted at a different hospital because "in such a sensitive case, there is a need to be doubly sure" and revealed the same cause of death -- starvation.
According to the neighbours, the eldest girl had gone to school on Tuesday while the other two had been sick for few days.
A Sub-Divisional Magistrate is at the house to conduct the probe, a Delhi government official said.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in a tweet, said he would visit the house on Thursday morning.
The opposition -- Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress -- flayed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on the issue.
The BJP said that instead of playing politics over ration distribution, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government should concentrate on meeting the basic needs of the people.
"Such a sad incident is happening in Delhi where the government claims to be championing the cause of providing ration to the poor," Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari said.
He said that such an incident in a constituency represented by Sisodia had "saddened" him, and a thorough inquiry was necessary and that society too should take notice and come forward to help the destitute.
The Congress claimed that the bodies had been shifted to the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital to get the "desired autopsy report".
In a series of tweets in Hindi, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said: "Three kids die due to starvation in Delhi's Mandawali. Post-mortem being shifted to GTB Hospital from LBS Hospital in a bid to get the desired reports. This family doesn't have the ration card. The number of ration cards has gone down to 15 lakh from 33.5 lakh during earlier Congress rule in Delhi."
He also said that he will visit the bereaved family on Thursday morning.
"We had alerted the Delhi government earlier that about nine lakh eligible families were denied the ration cards. Three kids have died due to starvation in the constituency of Sisodia, who is buying a new vehicle worth Rs 20 lakh."