NEW DELHI: Amidst the chaos surrounding Anaj Mandi in Filmistan area, Abdul Qazi and Naazir Hussain stood in a corner, talking in hushed tones about the ill-fated factory workers who lost their lives in the fire.
Abdul and Naazir live a few lanes away and came over to the spot to see the building that erupted in flames. “We also stay in tiny rooms like these with no ventilation. Buri maut thi…lekin kartein bhi toh kya. Paise bachane ke liye rehte the aise gharon mein (It was a bad death…But what could they do? They lived in this building to save money). This could be our fate some day,” said Abdul to this newspaper.
Abdul and Naazir are migrant labourers who are living in the city for many years now. While Abdul is a migrant from Jharkhand’s Deoghar, Naazir hails from Madhubani district in Bihar.
Most of the 28 Bihar residents identified as dead belong to the Samastipur district, Nariyar and Naveda villages in Saharsa and Budhnagar and Bokhara villages in Sitamarhi district.
“What choice do we have? There are very limited sources of income back home. I am the breadwinner for a family of seven. If I stop working and go back then who will feed them?” Abdul said. A few more labourers gathered around. Hailing from different states — Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh — they share a common story. All of them moved to the national capital to support their families back home.
“We can’t get scared from such incidents…if we start thinking of such fate then we can never succeed in our struggle. Jab maut aegi tab dekhenge…filhal pet bharne ke liye kamana hai (We will worry about dying later… for now we have to live in such clumsy houses to survive,” said Iqbal who hails from Darbhanga district.
While Iqbal said he is working to save money for his elder sister’s wedding, Naazir added that he has to pay debt taken by his father for agricultural purpose.“Shaukh se kaun rehna chahta hai (who wishes to stay like this)…We have to do all this for money.”