A midnight powercut on Tuesday would have passed of as a routine event in any other area of the city but not at Shalibanda where it signalled danger and gave a sleepless night to the locals. The trip off brought back the horrific memories of a dark night during 1992 riots, when people of another community cut off power to their locality and wreaked havoc.
The nightmarish 1992 experience forced the people to stay awake the whole night.
“During the 1992 violence, people belonging to another community entered the lanes after switching off power in a pre-planned manner and ransacked our houses,’’ a local recalled.
Locals apprehended a similar trouble but power supply was restored in a short while.
This, however, was not totally comforting as they feared attack might happen any time.
“We did not sleep the whole night guarding our houses. Despite requests police failed to post a picket here,” he complained. At daybreak, it was another set of problems they faced as curfew made all essentials inaccessible.
R Prakash, a local milk vendor, was prevented from moving out to collect his supplies from the diary forcing adults as well as children to go without their morning beverages for the second consecutive day. In fact, Prakash and a few other locals had to taste the wrath of the cops when they tried to slip out clandestinely to fetch milk.
“My one-and-a-half-year son feeds on milk and we are worried for how long should he be made to suffer. There are over 50 children in the locality facing the same problem,” a local, Devi Naik, told Expresso.
Municipal water was supplied for just 15 minutes on Wednesday and the storage tanks are fast depleting. Same is the case with other essentials. “I and a few other locals volunteered to bring vegetables and other essential goods from the new city. But police didn’t allow us to go out,” Satish, a youngster, said.
In many households, LPG cylinders have dried down. Cattle in many sheds dotting the Old City are starving for hay.
Police, on the other hand, are ruling with an iron hand. Many working men of the Old City are not being allowed to return to their homes. At Begum Bazar, an IPS officer reportedly made a person do sit-ups for coming on to the road. Worse still, people are not being allowed to go out to take passes.