Fifty metres separated six-year-old Nabina and her toy kitchen set. A plastic shield and a lathi was all that stood between them. She waited. Until 1 pm on Tuesday when the man wielding the shield and the lathi announced, “Curfew hat gaya hai. Aap sab ghoom sakte ho (Curfew has been relaxed. All of you can now move out).” Nabina ran.
For the first time in four days, curfew had been relaxed in Trilokpuri for three hours. Nabina and her family reside in Block 15. Like others in the area, they too had been deprived of food and essential commodities since violence erupted.
But for Nabina, it was a kitchen set she had left at her friend Asmeen’s house two days before Diwali that she wanted back.
“We have been surviving on biscuits and tea without milk for the past three days. Nabina and her elder brother have been crying for milk, but we had to live with what we had. She also kept telling us about the kitchen set she had left behind at her friend’s house in Block 15. The policemen wouldn’t let us venture out of our lanes. They guard each gali. How could I have sent her? Fortunately, the curfew has been relaxed now,” Shabnam, Nabina’s mother, said.
The Delhi government along with Mother Dairy, Safal and the Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd made special arrangements to provide food and medicines.
As the announcement went around by police personnel in Gypsies, it only took a few minutes for residents to come out and throng the vegetable and milk vendors.
“Haanji, curfew hat gaya hai. Aap sabhi log jaldi se sabzi khareed le (Curfew has been lifted. All of you can now head out and buy vegetables),” a policeman was heard telling a group of women sitting on the stairs outside their houses in one of the galis in Block 16.
Since the riot, for an hour in the morning, only women and children have been allowed to purchase milk from mobile vans.
Around 5 pm, policemen were asking residents to return home. Little Nabina was back, clutching her kitchen set. “One of the pieces is missing,” she tells her mother, who scolds her for being out for so long.
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