BHADRAK: A month after Bhadrak was ravaged by communal violence, people are trying to piece together their shattered lives.The communal violence erupted in the town on April 6 after derogatory remarks on Hindu Gods were posted on a social media site by a youth. The incident flared up and several houses and market places were set on fire, damaging property and breaking the economic backbone of hundreds of small-time vendors.
With curfew still in place, albeit for seven hours at night, the inhabitants continue to endure tough time. The worst affected are the daily wage earners who have no job for the last one month. Many locals, who had left the town in the wake of the carnage, have not yet returned home apprehending arrest.
Surendra Nayak, a physically challenged man whose betel shop in Ekta market was burnt to ashes, has not yet received any compensation from district administration or municipality for restarting his shop which was the only source of income for his five-member family for the last 15 years. “I was running the shop from a municipality room on rented basis. After a survey, the district administration assured me that compensation will be deposited in my bank account but that has not come yet,” Surendra said.
Surendra is one of hundreds of small vendors who have been left in the lurch after the violence. Some of them are running their business under polythene cover on the footpaths to maintain their families. Shakeel, who used to sell earthen pots in Chandar Bazaar, said his stock worth ` 1 lakh was set on fire. His only mistake was that his shop owner belonged to the other community.
Having turned a trolley puller to maintain his family of seven, Shakeel said, “My own community has pushed me into disaster and I cannot get back to my business as I have to repay about ` one lakh to the money lender.”
Though shops and business centres remain open, the transaction has come down drastically, said Ashok Gupta, a cloth merchant.
Meanwhile, district administration has relaxed the curfew duration which is effective from 10 pm to 5 am. Compensation has been disbursed to nearly 230 riot victims, said Collector Gyana Ranjan Das. The situation in the town is normal and a peace committee meeting has been convened to restore harmony, he added.
SP Anup Sahu said 254 persons have been arrested for their involvement in the riot. Review meeting on law and order is being held twice a week, he added.