Once Bengaluru’s lung space, Lalbagh turns death trap for kids
- Portion of a stone sculpture in the garden collapses and kills child.
- Victim’s parents accused officials of not erecting warning signs.
- Authorities have promised corrective measures and increased security presence.
The next time you take children to Lalbagh Botanical Garden, an iconic landmark in Bengaluru, make sure they do not venture alone near thick bushes and trees or near stone sculptures, as two children have died in accidents in two years.
Safety of visitors at the garden has come into renewed focus following the death of six-year-old Vikram Kumar on the evening of December 26.
Vikram, who had come to Lalbagh on a family outing, wanted to take a picture near a stone sculpture at the Bonsai garden. As he leaned on the stone sculpture, the granite bird bath atop the sculpture fell on him. The child was rushed to a hospital where he was declared brought dead.
"Vikram, along with his cousins, was playing at the Bonsai garden and wanted his picture taken next to this stone sculpture. Had the authorities placed a notice board about the danger, we would not have let him play in that zone," said Velu, Vikram's uncle. Despite their grief, Vikram’s family has made the noble gesture of donating his organs.
On August 15, 2015, Vaishnavi, a seven-year-old girl, died after being stung by a swarm of bees at Lalbagh.
Chandrashekhar, deputy director of Lalbagh, said this was the first time such an unfortunate incident of a sculpture collapse had taken place. "We will put a notice board about the possibility of old structures and stones collapsing and ask people to watch out for such dangers and also that parents should have an eye on their children," he explained. Garden officials have increased security and posted more guards at sensitive areas.
Chandrashekhar added that honey bees have existed at Lalbagh for years and only last year, did such a fatal attack take place. He said the 2015 incident might have occurred as mischief makers could have disturbed a beehive during the flower show."We have already made a signboard about possible bee attacks in one particular area. People should follow the rules mentioned at the park entrance," added Chandrashekhar.