The divide between the rich and the poor is palpable in the New Krishna Park area where a 42-year-old dentist was beaten to death on Wednesday night allegedly by a mob from the adjoining slum.
The slum, which came up about 20 years ago, is located next to over 100 bungalows and flats that make up New Krishna Park. Nine residents, including four juveniles, of Indira Camp have been held for Dr Pankaj Narang’s murder.
The incident, residents say, has now widened the gap further between them.
Some men and women from the camp work as maids and helpers in the upper-class neighbourhood. The colony has four gates, which are used by the slum residents reach the nearby metro station.
Unhappy with the slum dwellers passing through their bungalows, the residents in the past tried putting up a gate to secure the colony. In a letter to the police on Friday seeking permission for iron gates and a police post, the Residents Welfare Association said the colony was peaceful for the last 50 years. Advocates, doctors, engineers, CAs and MBAs and businessmen live in the colony.
The slum dwellers though said that since they live in the same area they too have a right to the roads in the locality. “We too need a way for movement and to reach the metro station. Where are we supposed to go? Do the roads belong only to the rich?” asked a slum dweller on condition of anonymity.
The RWA also said the slum has grown over six times in the past 20 years. “Most occupants are either daily wagers or do menial jobs and belong to the much lower strata of the society. Despite all their notorieties, we have been maintaining our cool and trying to maintain good neighbourly relations all these years,” reads the letter.
The colony residents and the slum dwellers have been in a fight earlier too. According to SC Malhotra, secretary of the RWA, the camp has many residents who are e-rickshaw drivers. “Many people who have no business here use the road inside the colony. A gate will help secure residents from miscreants. Earlier, the slum wasn’t so populated but because it has grown, safety has become a problem,” he said.
Like Wednesday night, when the deceased had pulled up two youths for rash driving inside the colony, the RWA had recently complained about the e-rickhshaw drivers driving dangerously on internal roads. “We had decided to make speed breakers but they had a problem. They threatened to demolish the speed breakers the day they were constructed. Hope, police will now look at our safety and build a police post and get us gates,” Malhotra said.