Politicians who promised compensation for victims of the Malleswaram blast have proved slippery.
On April 17 last year, a bomb fitted to a motorbike went off near the BJP office on 13th Cross, injuring 17 people, some grievously.
Leaders from the Congress and the BJP visited the victims and promised all help, but have done nothing. Police have arrested several men from Tamil Nadu for their alleged involvement in the blasts. “The blasts took place at the height of campaigning for the state Assembly elections last year. With barely two weeks to go, the local MLA and other big politicians visited our homes, promising compensation,” said Narayana Reddy, who runs a cement business.
The bike carrying the bomb was parked right in front of his house. Police used CCTV footage from his house to gather clues about the attack. Reddy says he spent `16 lakh to repair his house. After the blast, he has placed barricades and blocked off a part of the road, saying he wanted to prevent strangers from parking their vehicles there.
At the Parlour
Raju, who owns an ice-cream parlour, also tells a story of indifference. “On the morning of the blast, we had bought things worth `30,000 for our shop. Not only did we lose them, but my Maruti Omni, parked in front of the shop, was also damaged by the explosion,” he told
Raju said he spent `1 lakh to have his shop repaired and the damage to the Omni was worth `3 lakh. It took three to four months for his business to normalise. “Nobody cares about any of this,” he said. Tailor Ashwath, whose shop is located opposite the blast site, also suffered a big setback. “All the material in my shop was damaged and I had to purchase cloth afresh to meet my commitments,” he said. His house was damaged, and he waited for the government to provide compensation. When things didn’t move, three brothers (who jointly own the house) put in `50,000 each and got the work done.
Local MLA Ashwathnarayana could not be reached for comment. “When we meet him, he says we should wait till the elections are over. It has been a year since the blast, and we met him even three months ago. I have no hope either in the BJP or the Congress,” Ashwath said.
Jnaneshwar, employee of a private firm, was at home when the deafening blast went off. He developed a hearing problem soon after. He has spent `30,000 to have it treated, and over `70,000 to repair his home.
He has received no assistance from the BJP government that was in power then or the Congress government that came soon after. He recalls the dreaded day: “I had just entered the house when the explosives battered my door and hit me in the process. Ever since that day, I cannot hear properly.”
People visiting the BJP office park their vehicles in front of his house and he is scared now. “What if one of them carries a bomb like the last time?” he said, ruing the day the BJP set up its headquarters on this otherwise tranquil street.