Updated: April 23, 2022 10:29:34 pm
A week after communal violence broke out in Northwest Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, and three days after a demolition drive was carried out in the area, residents are trying to return to their regular lives and businesses amid heavy deployment of police and CRPF personnel.
Sheikh Sabdar, who runs a small grocery store in one of the bylanes of C block, pointed to a gate near his store that opens out onto the main road. “The gate has been shut all these days, ever since the incident a week ago. It was opened today. I have been opening the store over the past week, but a little later than usual and not too early in the morning,” he said.
The main road is barricaded on both ends, with several personnel deployed on the road and standing guard at some of the gates that lead into the bylanes. Pedestrians were allowed past the barricades, but not vehicles.
Sheikh Habib, a scrap dealer in C Block, said his shop was still shut. “Businesses here have been hit for a week now. My shop is shut today as well… people haven’t been coming,” he said.
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A few street vendors selling fruits and vegetables in carts were on the main road on Saturday evening, amidst the patrolling security forces. Some grocery and meat shops were open. “People from some distance away frequent the market here for the meat stores and vegetable shops,” Sheikh Sabdar said.
Mir Sahanul Islam watched from the main road as other vendors got their carts ready. “I would have liked to get back to business too. But my cart was destroyed when they came that day. It was a metal one,” he said. He had two carts to make and sell kebabs, he said, and the smaller of the two still stands in one of the bylanes. “Now that the means to do business has been taken away, I’ll have to look for other work, maybe at a mandi or as a worker somewhere else. There’s no money to buy another one. The first two were already bought with a loan,” he said. He had his cart running on the main road for around nine years, he said. “Some vendors on the main road are back, but several of the shops are still closed. The place is usually busier,” he added.
Rafiq, a resident of C Block who is a government employee, said, “People are waiting for things to return to normal. There is no anger here. This sort of thing is new for us… it has never happened before. An Aman (peace) Committee meeting was held last evening, and maybe the gates were opened after that.”
Tabrez Khan, a member of the Aman Committee in the area, said that a ‘Tiranga Yatra’ would be organised by the committee on Sunday evening. The yatra, in which people belonging to different communities will participate, is expected to be a show of harmony.
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