NEWS

Funeral Replaces Miracle Baby’s First Birthday Celebrations In Nadi

"I couldn’t stop crying and asking God why such a gruesome killing has been done to them and my life could have been taken instead. My daughter is a lovable woman and I couldn’t believe that could happen to her,” added the shaken grandmother.
28 Aug 2019 10:01
Funeral Replaces Miracle Baby’s First Birthday Celebrations In Nadi
Bhijba Wati, (left) and eldest daughter, Sonia Devi. Photo: Mereleki Nai

A grand first birthday celebration for “Miracle Baby” Samaira Kumar planned for Saturday has been called off.

Now it will be replaced by a funeral.

Preparation turned sour for a Legalega family after five of the family members were found dead at Nausori Highlands in Nadi on Monday morning. Samaira was the lone survivor.

Dead are 63-year-old carpenter, Nirmal Kumar, 54-year-old Usha Kumar, their daughter, Nileshni Kumar, 34 and two granddaughters Sana, 11 and Samarah, eight-year-old. Their death, an alleged homicide, is still a mystery.

Grief-stricken great-grandmother Bhijba Wati, the mother of the victim, Usha Kumar, 54, had made her way with her husband Daya Ram, 74, to attend a pooja that was supposed to take place yesterday in Legalega.

“I came from Tavua to attend our religious ‘Pooja’ at the house of my daughter. When we reached the airport on Monday morning, we called their phone but there was no answer so we took a cab straight to their house in Legalega,” she said.

When they reached Legalega they found out that no one was there. There was no sign in the house that the family was preparing for the annual family (Roth Kaatha) pooja.

“I kept calling my daughter and granddaughter’s name but there was no answer. We sat on the porch and decided to wait until a neighbour came and told us that that my granddaughter from oversees had also been calling their phone but there was no answer, so she requested if they could come and check their house and vehicle.

“I went with the neighbour to their house and waited there. I had a feeling that something was wrong.

“My other daughter was going through the Facebook and she told me that five people were found dead at Nausori Highlands. I started to feel uneasy and have a strange feeling that something might have happened to them,” said Mrs Wati.

At 3pm she saw the police vehicle parked outside their house.

“From there I knew it was them the pictures that we saw on Facebook. I couldn’t stop crying and asking God why such a gruesome killing has been done to them and my life could have been taken instead. My daughter is a lovable woman and I couldn’t believe that could happen to her,” added the shaken grandmother.

A family friend, and neighbour Seremaia Saqiwa of Saunaka, Nadi whose wife is an Indo-Fijian and was related to the family had shared his last moments with the family.

Mr Saqiwa said: “We are so close to this family. My wife is related to them. Nearly every day we’d go to their house. If anything, we lack like sugar or any household items, we’d always go to them.

“When the family goes anywhere, they come home and take me with them, especially their father.

“On Friday we were setting up the house and compound because today (yesterday) is their religious rituals ‘Pooja’ and also the birthday of their granddaughter, the toddler who was the lone survivor in Nausori Highland and also a wedding for a niece living in Australia. The family was all looking forward to the Pooja, wedding and the birthday this week.

“On Sunday after church I came with my wife to their house and found no one there because we planned for a complete clean-up with them on that day.

“We went to the neighbour and had some refreshments there while waiting for them till evening but still they didn’t turn up. I told my wife that was unusual of them to leave the house for a long period,” he said.

“On Monday, one of the church members showed me the Facebook pictures and I was so shocked. I went to the house, broke down and cried.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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