On June 17 this year, Sanghamitra’s only son, 18-year-old Rudransh Panda was found dead at the Sannidhi – Residential Centre for Life Skills at Hayathnagar, a suburb of Hyderabad.
“He was suffering from autism and he was physically fine but he had some sensory issues. He had poor hand-eye coordination and needed to depend on others for things. The place had a hospice as well as a school, so there were teachers, wardens and caretakers to look after my son,” she says.
Sanghamitra has been running from pillar to post, trying to find out what exactly happened to her son since he was found dead in June this year.
Since 2012, Rudransh Panda, fondly known as Romy was living at the Centre, which is a unit of the Sankar Foundation.
But Sanghamitra says that she had observed some changes in Romy since January this year.
“Since January, I saw that he was getting weak and losing weight. He was even showing some aggressive behaviour, so we were worried. I went abroad in May and the people (at the Centre) even sent me some pictures and said that he was being good. I returned in June, and was planning to meet him on June 17,” she narrates.
However, that very morning, she received a call from the Centre that Romy did not wake up.
“They called me at 7:30am, when they usually wake up the children at 5 am. I told them to call an ambulance and reached there, only to find him in a separate AC room, lying face up in a mattress. There was dried blood and liquid in his nose and mouth, and the blanket was up to his neck. His eyes were closed and puffy,” Sanghamitra says.
“They told me he had been aggressive the previous night, but they gave him food, and put him to bed. I didn’t doubt them at the time because of the state I was in. We got an ambulance and the doctors said that he had died several hours ago, and it was an unnatural death. A post-mortem had to be conducted,” she adds.
Following this, Sanghamitra recalls how they rushed from the police station to the mortuary, and as she lost her way and reached late, the viscera had already been taken.
“This is where they could have covered up, as I saw one police officer talking about an external injury, but another one shushing him up,” she says.