Gali No. 42 residents are sick of sympathy | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Gali No. 42 residents are sick of sympathy

delhi Updated: Sep 22, 2008 00:31 IST
Avishek G. Dastidar
Avishek G. Dastidar
Hindustan Times
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It bore the brunt of the September 13 blasts, but just as Beadonpura's Gali No. 42 was beginning to pick up the pieces, it's run into an unlikely hurdle — too much sympathy.

After remaining closed for four days, the handloom shops in the lane finally opened last Wednesday, but they've gone without business ever since.

"I have not sold a single item since Wednesday thanks to the tamasha (nuisance). Our sympathies are wearing thin and so is our patience," said P.N. Bhatia, owner of Bhatia Handlooms, the first in the row of shops.

A police barricade and numerous constables regulate entry to the lane; the so-called social workers occupy the blast site with free lunch for the victims and their families while passers-by-turned-spectators clog the lane.

"We have lives to get back to, mouths to feed. This idle crowd of outsiders and sympathisers hanging around here is not letting us get on with our lives. Business, too, is being hampered," said Gulab Singh, 74, who received head injuries in the blast.

On Saturday, a full week after the blast, insurance agents put up a stall at the entrance to settle claims of the insured victims, but more importantly to bag new clients. "The response is good. This is also a service," said Vijay Sharma, who had put up the stall.

The compensation has started trickling in. Saroj Devi, who lost her son Ram Lal, has received a cheque for Rs 5 lakh. "But I am an exception. Most of the victims' kin have not got their cheques," she said.

Basanti, who lost her husband and now has to bring up her child all by herself, has visited the police station a few times to enquire about her compensation. "It is time that we started looking for work. There are children to take care of. I can mourn my husband in the quiet of my house as well," she said.

Social workers and self-appointed local 'helpers' of the victims had arranged a remembrance meet at the blast site on Saturday. The survivors lit candles before pictures of the victims at 6.10 pm -- the time when the bomb went off a week ago -- and headed home, leaving the sympathisers and the spectators behind.