A year after the 13/7 serial blasts in the city left 27 dead and 127 injured,fear and foreboding linger at Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar that were targeted.
While the Opera House area South Mumbais diamond hub has limped back to normalcy,traders say they continue to work in an atmosphere of fear. A police chowky demanded by them after the attack has not been built yet. Instead an ATM centre has come up in its place,angry traders pointed out.
Although the police have banned parking and installed CCTV cameras in the area,traders say they live in the fear of a repeat of the attacks. For Borivali resident Sudhir Jain (38),the past two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. Jain,who lost a sizeable portion of his shin and thigh in the Opera House blast,resumed work a fortnight ago. He said doctors had advised him to stay at home until his injuries heal.
Other traders in the Opera House area,however,go about their daily business. A police van stationed in the area and a constable posted near the lane leading to it keep an eye out for suspicious persons. Also perched upon lamp posts are several CCTVs,which are placed in metallic boxes to ensure weather does not play havoc.
Malad resident Hitesh Patel (35),a diamond broker,said the area is secure only in name but no one feels safe. We go about our daily work here and try to work without thinking of what happened. But every time we go for snacks to the spot where the bomb was placed,we cannot help but remember what had happened there. But we dont have any option but to continue with business, he said.
Some traders said that the police van deployed in the area had ensured that rules were followed. There are no hawkers in the area and parking has also been banned. The police have done a good job but there is no way you can remove fear with such measures. Everyone here feels scared but no one is willing to speak about it. People have thought it is better not to talk about it than to think that you may lose your life if another attack takes place, said Danny Vora (34),who works as a diamond broker in the area.
At Zaveri Bazaars Khau Galli area,the other blast site,shop owners said the number of customers has reduced. Apart from fear that a bomb may go off,it is also partly because of security being high, said papad seller Digvijay Verma (30).
J S Kothari,who runs an imitation jewellery centre,said it remains difficult to forget the evening the blast occurred. We go about our work,but we cannot forget that day, he said.
The Mumbai Police,however,maintain that security at both spots is high. Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Rajnish Seth said they had cleared both spots of hawkers and security has been given priority.
With the help of merchant organisations,CCTV cameras have been put up at both spots. Our personnel have been deployed in the areas to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. We are doing everything we can to secure the areas, said Seth.