Too much confusion clouding facts

The amount of confusion surrounding the tragic case of four-year-old Jihad, whose lifeless body was recovered from a deep, uncovered well on Saturday afternoon, almost a full day after he had fallen in, raises many questions about what was going on at the scene.

When there were eyewitnesses to his having fallen in, testimonies of neighbours having heard the boy’s cries, and when members of the fire brigade itself reportedly claimed to have spoken to him, that there was any doubt Jihad had, in fact, fallen into the well is astounding.

Our home minister’s insensitive comments implying the whole incident may have been a fabrication, the fire service director general’s announcement that there was no trace of anyone inside the well, and the subsequent detaining of the worried father for abusive questioning demonstrate the kind of irresponsible and callous behaviour by the authorities we seem to have grown accustomed to, but should not have to stand for.

It is outrageous that rescue efforts were suspended despite by-standers insisting the child really was at the bottom of the well. Given the confusion over the facts, risking a child’s life over a hunch that the episode may have been concocted – a presumption they had no solid basis for – is disgraceful.

We are appalled at the shameful manner in which the entire incident was handled by the authorities concerned. We need to get to the bottom of how such a tragedy of errors, with mistake piled upon mistake, and misjudgement piled upon misjudgement, could have been allowed to play out.