A day after four bodies of members of a migrant worker’s family were found in an agricultural well in Warangal (Rural) district, police made a disturbing discovery on Friday as five more bodies were found in the well.
Police said that out of the total nine bodies retrieved from the well, six are from the same family. The three other bodies are reportedly labourers from West Tripura and Bihar who had gone missing.
The bodies of Maqsood, his wife Nisha and their daughter Bushra Khatun, along with a three-year-old baby, were found in the well on Thursday in Gorrekunta village in Geesukonda mandal. It had been reported that the family may have been under extreme financial pressure as a result of the lockdown.
While two of the five bodies retrieved have been identified as Maqsood’s sons — Shabad Alam and Sohail Alam, who were studying for an ITI (Industrial Training Institute) diploma — three others have been identified as labourers, who hailed from Bihar and West Tripura. Indian Express reported that the worker from Tripura has been identified as Shakeel Ahmed, while the other two Bihar natives have been identified as Sriram and Shyam.
According to Warangal Police Commissioner (CP) V Ravinder, the bodies were evacuated after they were discovered floating in the water. A preliminary investigation did not reveal any signs of physical injury.
According to the police, Maqsood’s family hails from West Bengal and has been living in Warangal's Kareemabad for the past 20 years. Recently, following the lockdown, they moved to Gorrekunta village, where they had been working at a gunny bags manufacturing unit.
As police began their investigation into the deaths of the four members of the family, it was found that Maqsood’s two sons and the three other labourers, Sriram, Shyam and Shakeel, were also missing. On Friday, five more bodies were found in the same well.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Shyam Sunder told the Indian Express that Shakeel, one of the people found in the well, used to work as a driver at the jute mill. Shyam and Sriram worked in the same mill.
“His [Maqsood] daughter is divorced and she also lived with them with their 3-year-old son. There are no injuries on the bodies. If it was a suicide pact, only the family of six would have taken their own lives, but there are three other bodies. We are investigating several angles,’’ ACP Shyam Sundar told the newspaper.
Speaking to the media on Friday, Commissioner of Police Ravinder stated that a post mortem examination is expected to provide more leads in the case and shed more light on the cause of death.
Their bodies have reportedly been sent to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Warangal for a postmortem. A case of suspicious death has reportedly been registered under Section 174 (inquiry or report on suicide) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The police have formed teams to investigate the case from every angle and to find out if the death was caused by suicide or whether it was an act of crime.
“We are doing everything we can to support our migrant workers during this time of crisis. We are offering them money and food. But I’m deeply saddened by the news of four people losing their lives,” Panchayat Raj Minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao told the New Indian Express, and said that he would be taking the matter up to the Chief Minister.