The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teenage saviour of six loses battle for life
A photo of Javed

New Delhi, April 13: Javed Ahmad, the teenager who had escaped the Meerut fire but jumped back into it to save six children, died in a Delhi hospital this morning amid cries of negligence.

Javed, 18, a resident of Mandawli in east Delhi, was working at a clothes stall at the Brand India fair on Monday when the fire broke out. He got out unhurt, but went back in when he saw the children trapped. He collapsed after his sixth attempt, and suffered 70 per cent burns.

Friend Sarfuddin said: “He heard the cries of small children and rushed back inside to save them. He saved many lives and then a piece of burning synthetic cloth fell on him and he got badly burnt because of that,” he said.

The student of Sarvodaya Boys Senior Secondary School at Vinod Nagar in east Delhi had just sat for his Class XII CBSE examination. He took the job at the Meerut fair to help his father Mizaz Ahmed, who does embroidery work for a living. Javed was the eldest of three sons; his brothers are 12 and 9.

First admitted to Meerut’s Sushila Jaswant Rai Hospital, he was moved to Safdarjung Hospital at 9 pm yesterday. He died at 6 am.

“I lost my son because they did not take good care of him. If they had taken good care, he would still be alive. The Meerut doctors kept him alive for three days but as soon as he was brought to Delhi, he died,” his mother Anida Begum cried.

His father said he had hoped the boy would survive once he was shifted to Safdarjung. “My pocket was picked in this hospital. In the morning, the oxygen was over and when we told the doctors and nurses who were around about it, they did not bother. I think in that delay, he died. We were informed of his death only at 10 am though he had died much earlier,” Mizaz said.

As news of his death spread, friends and family members poured into the hospital. Alleging negligence, his friends demanded to see the body.

Ashok Randhawa of the Sarojini Nagar Market Association, who was at the hospital at 8.30 am helping out with the victims, said: “Javed had died at around 6 am. However, it was only around 8 am that the staff came out and called for his father. His mother was already complaining that no one was attending to her son.

“As news channels broadcast the news of his death, about 20 to 25 of his friends from Vinod Nagar came to the hospital and wanted to talk to the doctors.”

The friends were allowed to see Javed in batches of two. Four boys came out and accused the hospital of negligence. “Everyone, including us, rushed inside the burns ward to see what was the matter. Just before the ICU, we were stopped and told to leave. The boys were agitated and in the jostling and pushing to get out of the ward, they broke the windows and two of them got hurt,” said Randhawa.

Delhi police detained four boys ' Sudhir, Mahfuz, Ajay and Mateen ' but later released them.

Sarfuddin, who was among those who went to identify Javed’s body, said: “His face had become so black that we couldn’t recognise him at all. It is only when we were shown his mobile and with our numbers on it that we realised that this is Javed.”

The Uttar Pradesh government has announced a posthumous reward of Rs 5 lakh for the teenager in recognition of his bravery.

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