Restrictions in the area have left several market lanes closed.
New Delhi: As the restrictions in Jahangirpuri have left several market lanes closed, poor locals living in the area who worked in those lanes and market places say that the curbs have brought them on their knees as they are struggling to feed their family.
The C block market in Jahangirpuri, where the tensions between two communities broke last Saturday, would employ around 500 vegetable and fruit carts inviting buyers from around the place; now the barricaded area remains deserted due to curbs, reducing people’s business activities to almost zero in the main market and also limiting the market inside the alleys. Closed shops falling under restrictions show a harsh reality for residents as they are unable to trade goods. Furthermore, the 50 shops that were razed on Wednesday have also added to the agony of the locals. Most of the people in the area work in their local market as vegetable, fish, chicken and meat sellers, besides rag-picking being a major profession among them.
The empty carts in the area have been lined up in other smaller lanes. Bhupendra, a hand-to-mouth vegetable seller, who would earn Rs 500 a day in normal days, has been pushed into further poverty as he is not able to use his cart. “Earlier, I stayed home for a few days and thought the barricading would end soon, but it didn’t. Now, I carry vegetables on my back to nearer markets as I cannot use my cart. When I sell the first round of vegetables, I come back and carry another pack of vegetables in this hot sun and this continues several times in the day,” said Bhupendra.
An area which has a major population earning their livelihood on rag-picking has suffered the most. Sahil, a rag-picker, who would earn Rs 200-600 a day before the restrictions, now idles in the place, “We cannot do our routine job. I can eat at night only if I work in the day. Now, I don’t have anything to eat. They are saying that they will close down the place till Eid; what will I eat till then?” asked Sahil.
In the adjacent Kaushal market also, street vendors are disallowed to spread their carts or run their stations. Arshid, a lamenting vendor who was stalled by the police from selling merchandise while sitting on his three sack-filled clothes, said, “Hundreds of street vendors sit here across this road to earn their living. We did nothing and yet we are the ones who are suffering.”
Surender Kumar, who sells chick pea curry (cholle batore) near Kali Mandir, said, “I pay my cook Rs 600 a day, now when everything is closed, how do I pay him now?” The sensitivity of the place is depicted by groups of policemen sitting every 20 meter distance within the barricaded area, packs of policemen form pockets of surveillance-groups outside every alley. Rapid Action Force (RAF) patrol the outer lanes of the area, ready to deal with any “incident”. In worshipping places, the security is double.