Life has virtually come to a standstill for 75-year-old Wahidan, a resident of Block-20 in Trilokpuri since her son was picked up by police in connection with the recent clashes that has hit the area.
Unconsolable, Wahidan says the area has not witnessed such clashes since 1984 anti-sikh riots.
“My son was returning from Meerut and was not even aware of the clashes going on here. Seeing the commotion, he ran inside the lane behind our house and was caught by police. He was beatean up brutally and was put in jail.
“Policemen didn’t even allow me to meet him. They say he is involved in the violence, but I wonder how? He was not even in Delhi a day before,” said Wahidan sitting in her dark, damp one room house.
According to 68-year-old Nazimullah, an auto-rickshaw driver, all the young women and children were shifed to different localities for their safety.
“As tension escalated, there were rumours of police atrocities and all the young women and children of the area were shifted to other places. Some were kept indoors in the inner-most houses of the lanes,” said Nasreen who had fled to Shakarpur and returned a couple of days later.
Munish Kumar Sharma, who runs a shop in Trilokpuri said that things are getting back to normalcy.
“I did not open my shop for four days resulting in losses. Customers are trickling back. People living here want peace and we are doing our bit for that. Some of the Hindu volunteers yesterday led the Muharram processions in the area amid heavy police deployment,” said 50-year old Sharma.
However, minorities rued that that they could not observe Muharram due to strict police vigil and clampdown.
“Earlier, about 12 processions would be taken out that would tour the area before gathering for the Akhara. Nearly 2,500 people would participate. But yesterday only few processions were taken out and very few people could be seen and the celebrations were mute,” said Aslam who runs a pan shop in the area.
Neither did they perform self-flagellation using objects like blades, chains and whips, which has been a tradition for these processions taken out to mark the mourning.
Yesterday shops were open till 8.30 pm in the area, Aslam said. “People are still scared,” he added.
According to the locals, during the police crackdown, youths were randomly picked up and beaten. Also there were rumours of violence which further vitiated the ambience.
“It is the current politics that is to be blamed for the clashes,” said Faid Qureshi who has been living in Trilokpuri for the last six decades.
The lanes and by lanes which till a fortnight back thrived with activity and business wore a deserted look even today.
“Though situation is getting better and the atmosphere is much more relaxed today, one thing is for sure. These clashes have driven a wedge between communities and the wound will fester for long,” said Qureshi.