Wednesday, September 24, 2008

3rd floor Batla House; Jamia Nagar terrorised

Someone knocks the door. Who’s there….a voice from inside comes. The person at the door says, “I’m from Vodafone”. The door opens. They start talking. “I’m from Vodafone and you said about taking a sim card”. The person from inside denies about having said anything of this sort. “Then your friend must have asked for it. Does anyone stay with you? Would you ask him, as the company has given me your address.” The man inside asks his friend about the same, however he also denies having called the Vodafone guy. By this time the other guy is on the door as well. He says, “Now that you are here, you can tell if there’s a new scheme. By the way which address have you been given?”

The well dressed man from Vodafone takes out a paper and shows him. “The address is right; however it seems that someone else from the same building has called you. Around 36 people live in the building; someone must have definitely called you”. The Vodafone guy says, “But the person on the first floor asked me to go on the third floor. Anyways, I’ll look downstairs. Can I have a glass of water?” The man says, “Yes sure, come in.” Both the guys go in. In the meantime, the man from Vodafone calls someone and talks briefly, even before the man comes with water. He then drinks water and leaves by saying that they can call him if they need to buy something from Vodafone.

The door shuts. After 5-7 minutes someone knocks the door again. And this time, the person bangs heavily on the door and orders with full authority, to open the door. The person from inside replies in a similar fashion. The door opens and the whole building echoes of the firing of bullets. Everyone starts panicking and the rest is history. Everyone knows about it, as after that only the dead bodies were seen coming out. The so called person from Vodafone was supporting to get the corpse of a policeman out and later did we come to know that he was a policeman himself. He was from the special cell. And the man he called earlier was none other than Inspector Sharma, who was waiting for a signal. He was the one who fired when the door opened. The boys inside the house also fired in repercussion.

May it be a reality or a story, but what happened, was presented like this on Monday. The reaction on what happened in Batla House became clear when I entered Jamia Nagar. Heading towards Jamia Nagar from Kalindi Kunj, it seemed as if were Sopara in Kashmir. It seemed that there is another Delhi situated inside Delhi, in Jamia Nagar. A place guarded all the time by the Army, so that no one could dare moving ahead. Barricades and the presence of police who never forgets to investigate a pedestrian were imminent.

Interestingly, the Kashmir valley is accustomed to the presence of Army; Jamia Nagar is characterized by a bold conveyance. It’s always busy; both during the daytime and at night. The continuous Army patrolling in Jamia Nagar has broken the old character of Jamia Nagar. In New Delhi, Jamia Nagar is an area with a Muslim monopoly. Students coming to Jamia University stay here and also migrants from small states in search of employment reside here. Entering into Jamia Nagar from Jamia University, it seemed that the Batla incident has instilled an element of suspicion in everyone. Nobody says anything. Everyone seems to have accepted this as a reality of Delhi. The distance between the masses and Army and a rift between the state and the commoners is apparent in Jamia, as now no one can exist or live here on his own.

People from small cities and villages don’t get cut off and come to Jamia, rather they come here with their roots intact. So, there’s no one who gets lost in the fast city life of Delhi and lives a life of a loner. There are numerous of hearsays and stories regarding Batla in Jamia, but importantly the questions are the same. Gradually as you enter Jamia, the number of Armymen reduces and this also ends the amount of suspicion in the eyes of people. Entering this whirlpool like Jamia Nagar would raise questions regarding the cities which are related to migration. People are compelled to come to Delhi. Saraimeer and Mubarakpur are in Azamgarh. Criminal Abu Bashar was from Saraimeer whereas Md. Aftab was from Mubarakpur. Till 80s their families were involved in traditional embroidery work. By the time 90s came, the recognition became that of fake and cheap Banarasi saris and in the last decade Jamia has become famous for its excellent tea. Md. Aftab questions that the advent of machines has made us lack our creativity and talents, but will the new circumstances prevailing in the nation would make us lose our lives? Md. Asif who was from Mehzeen (Kaifi Azmi’s home town) was studying Hotel Management in Delhi. Asif was offered a lucrative job in Sharjah but he refused it, even when his parents wanted him to go. Now his question is….where should he return? He wishes that his address remains India. But here even a Moholla is not considered a part of the country. He returns home at 10 pm every night accompanied by the police. The police examine the things and on protesting; warn of imprisonment. The police rudely questions, “You know how to cook Biryani; so do you also know how to make bombs? Would you make us eat Biryani or blast bombs?

Akhlakh is a Computer Science student. Hailing from Ferozpur he’s also in the glass bangle business. He brings them in wholesale and sells it to the vendors. Coincidently he reached with his Bangles in Jamia Nagar on Sunday. After having looked his stuff and knowing that Akhlakh was a Computer Science student, the first question police asked him was how did he ever courage to come to Jamia after the Batla attack? He had to face a loss of 16 dozen bangles in the course of investigation. The police read all the messages in his cell phone’s inbox and seized the computer for investigation. However when the police got to know that Asif’s uncle belong to Congress and has been involved in making Rahul Gandhi’s U.P. visit a success, then only did they leave Asif. After a silence on Batla incident, Asif mentioned that this has created a rift between Delhi and Firozabad.

In Jamia Nagar, not only people from U.P. but also people from Bihar, Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kashmir reside. These are the people who come to Delhi after facing a crisis in their villages/cities. Anyone in khaki can threaten them in Old Delhi however; in Jamia Nagar it’s the threat that protects them. In these circumstances the question is what would be their new abode? When after 5 hrs of search, there was no such person who could answer the reality of Batla without questioning it, I returned to Batla. I saw that the police force was increased as the dead bodies of the terrorists were being brought there.

Coincidently I met the same person, who in the morning of the incident was asking about the details. This time, without even asking he said, “These guys are instigating fear among people. They have blasted the bombs and now are rejoicing. Allah will never forgive them”. Before I could have asked anything, he left and I was amazed. This person changed in just 4 hours time. Are they really not worth believing? When I was just thinking this, I saw a troop of policeman behind myself. Now the question is, is the reality behind Batla a result of terror and fear among people? Isn’t the dividing politics and lack of communication instigating a new form of terror? Who’ll solve it….the question remains unsolved.

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