It was 3.35 pm and I had just hired an autorickshaw to my office from the Samachar Apartment crossing in Mayur Vihar when I heard some unusual sound. It was like a crash and some vehicles coming to a screeching halt, and then it died down. Another bumper-to-bumper hit perhaps, I thought.
Only a minute later I realised, I was wrong. Near the second traffic signal on the road to Akshardham temple, I noticed a row of bikes standing on the road and a crowd of about 10 people, which soon swelled to nearly 30, on the other side of the road.
I did not understand what the commotion was about. Maybe an accident had happened, I thought and was pleased to see that so many people were trying to help out. (Later, I learnt that the crowd was beating up a shooter who had killed a man.)
The shock came when I looked to my left. A man in a striped shirt and dark pants lay in the middle of the road, blood oozing out of his head and people just walking past him. Not that there were not many people; traffic was moving at a snail’s pace and people just kept looking at the body impassively.
I told my autorickshaw driver to stop immediately. There was no policeman in the two nearby pickets, one on either side of the road, so I dialled 100 and asked why there was no policeman there. Their response stunned me. The police had no information. This at 3.45 pm, nearly 10 precious minutes after the shootout.
No one in the crowd, which had by now grown even bigger, had bothered to inform the police. Worse still, people stopped, looked and moved on. A woman at a bus stop, barely 10 m from where the dead man lay, was narrating the incident to someone on the phone, but didn’t think of calling an ambulance or the police.
Then a traffic constable appeared and covered the body with a dirty cloth and tried to barricade the area around it with stones. He told me someone had shot the man.
I moved on when I heard police sirens, stunned by the broad daylight murder, but more by people’s indifference and the police’s callous attitude. A shocking real-life drama.