Trilokpuri kept a tense peace on Sunday with the riot-control police and rapid action force patrolling its brick-strewn streets and no people in sight. The scene of day-long violence on Saturday wore a desolate look amid prohibitory orders that were in force to prevent any recurrence of rioting.
But the calm came at a price. Hassled residents across blocks complained of lack of access to essential commodities such as milk. One complained that his children were deprived of milk and food as they are not allowed to step out and buy groceries from markets in adjoining areas. Shamim Ahmed, a shopkeeper in the area, said, “We know Section 144 prohibits assembly of people, but they can at least allow one person from each house to go and fetch the groceries.”
He said children are crying for milk and they have been surviving only on water and biscuits.
There is cash crunch as well. “One person went out this morning to fetch some cash from an ATM in Mayur Vihar but he was beaten with lathis by the police and sent back home,” Shamim said.
Some of the markets in block number 22, 23 and 27 opened later in the day, but shopkeepers sold groceries at four times their actual retail price. Potato was being sold for Rs 80 per kg, onions for Rs 120 and a small packet of Kurkure snack that costs Rs 5 for Rs 15. A packet of milk that costs Rs 38 was going for Rs 70 and a litre of packaged drinking water for Rs 60.
“We have no option but to buy as we are not allowed to go outside. We have no money at home as the ATM in the area has also been damaged,” Parveen, a housewife, complained.
While others profiteer, 50-year-old Shameema Begum, the owner of a grocery shop in Sanjay Camp jhuggi where 500 Muslim families live, is the Good Samaritan. People were seen secretly taking turns to go inside the narrow lane where her shop is, emerging with packets concealed under their clothes — essentials, of course.
Late Saturday evening, she had to shut down the shop after prohibitory orders were imposed. “When the police imposed prohibitory orders, we had to make arrangements for essential commodities,” Shameema said.
Her husband “secretly” got milk and other essentials from Trilokpuri’s block no. 8, a Hindu area. “We carried rice sacks and took as many milk packets as possible. We are thankful to our Hindu brothers and sisters who helped us in tough times,” Shameema said.
Apart from 32 detentions, 12 people were specifically detained on charges of raising false alarm and making bogus calls to police control room on Saturday, police said. “An FIR for rioting has been registered and a total of 44 people have been detained. The investigation in the matter is on,” said Deepak Mishra, special commissioner of police for law and order.