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A struggle to put the past behind

Three years after an 'encounter' changed life as they knew it, the three lakh-odd residents of Batla House locality struggle to exorcise the ghost of September 19, 2008.

delhi Updated: Sep 18, 2011 23:46 IST
Karan Pratap Singh

Three years after an 'encounter' changed life as they knew it, the three lakh-odd residents of Batla House locality struggle to exorcise the ghost of September 19, 2008.

On that day, in L-18, Batla House, two alleged terrorists — Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid — were gunned down by a team of the Special Cell of the Delhi Police. Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, who was leading the team, lost his life in the operation.

For residents of this residential colony in south Delhi's Jamia Nagar, the stigma acquires several forms.

While youth from the area find it tough to get jobs, property rates have dipped and commuting to the locality is a problem.

“Our youths don't get jobs when their potential employers find Batla House mentioned in their personal bio-data,” said Hamid Ali, a businessman operating out of L-16, adjacent to the infamous L-18.

The problems faced by Batla House residents don't end there. Property rates in the area have gone down at least 20-30%.

“The rate of a two-bedroom flat in our colony is less than

Rs 25 lakh. Three years ago, the rate of such flats was over R30 lakh,” said a property dealer of the area.

Also, for outsiders and students of Jamia Milia Islamia University, getting a rented accommodation here has become difficult.

A recommendation is the only way they can find a place to live.

Commuting to Batla House is another major issue, with autorickshaw and cab drivers refusing to go to the locality.

Meanwhile, the residents of Jamia Nagar will protest at Jantar Mantar today, demanding a judicial enquiry into the encounter.

Thousands of people from Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh and adjoining districts will join the protest that starts at 10 am.