NEW DELHI: The tension in Filmistan’s Anaj Mandi was palpable on Monday. Locals in groups —some large, some small — gathered at every street corner discussing the Sunday fire that claimed 43 lives.
The curious groups were dispersed at regular intervals by Delhi Police personnel patrolling the area, as the building engulfed by flames was surrounded by barricades.
“I don’t live here. I came to see which building it was and how the fire had spread. I came yesterday too, but the police did not allow us to come close. So we are back today,” said Babloo who came down from Nabi Karim along with his friend Rashid. After watching the building with lot of curiosity, Babloo exclaimed “Darawna hai (This is scary). It is very difficult to escape if fire breaks out at midnight when everyone is asleep. So many people were staying in such tiny rooms.”
The residents were also sceptical about talking on the incident. Most of the people living in the same lane where fire broke out refused to speak while others claimed that low hanging wires were indeed a reason to worry.
“The fire started owing to a short circuit and that can happen anywhere. One incident doesn’t mean we will leave this place and shift. The residential houses are well wired but the factory units may not be,” noted Bobby Arora, a resident of Anaj Mandi.
Many, including Union urban affairs minister Hardeep Puri and state BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, have stated that the overhead wires dangling in the narrow lanes of Anaj Mandi are an obvious fire hazard.
All the shop shutters were down in Anaj Mandi and its neighbouring areas. Mohd Karim who lives inside one of the Anaj Mandi buildings said that the factory owners are choosing not to open their units due to the fear of inviting any action from civic bodies or the state government.
“There were rumours going around that officials from MCD and District Magistrate’s office were here and might visit again. Unit owners will be facing massive losses as most likely shutters will be down for a couple of weeks,” stated Karim. However, Nidhi Srivastava, the District Magistrate of central zone refuted such rumours stating that no officials from her office went to the spot for inspection.