Madikeri: A child artist, whose painting was appreciated by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a flood relief centre in Madikeri last year, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at his house in Hebbatageri near Madikeri yesterday.
The identity of the boy has not been revealed as the Madikeri unit of Juvenile Justice Board has advised the media not to publish the name of the nine-year-old child. In a complaint filed at Madikeri Rural Police Station, the child’s parents said the house was locked from inside when they reached home, said Deputy Superintendent of Police Sundar Raj.
Parents told the Police that the child might have been playing with a veil when it accidentally got entangled around his neck, suffocating him to death. The boy was studying in second standard at a private school in South Kodagu and was to study in third standard from the next academic year.
Last year due to unprecedented floods and landslides in Kodagu, the family’s house at Hebbatageri was washed away and the boy along with parents was rehabilitated at a relief centre in Madikeri.
When Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the relief centre, his drawings of how his house was washed away in landslide caught her eye and she was full of praises for his talent. At one point, the Minister was in tears when the boy was explaining his drawing to her.
At the relief centre over 500 survivors were staying and authorities had created a space for children to draw and paint. This was one of the ways to relieve the trauma that the children underwent during the natural disaster.
Nineteen drawings of the children were put on display and the sketch by this boy had caught the attention of many visitors, including Nirmala Sitharaman.
In his painting, the boy explained about the horror that began on Aug.16 last year when the house of his neighbour, an old woman, was washed away and the old woman was screaming for help before he could alert his parents to the plight of the woman.
Madikeri Rural Police have registered a case of unnatural death. Dy.SP Sundar Raj visited his house this morning and has constituted a special team to investigate the case.