Scared residents are busy installing heavy iron gates at several lanes and alleys in riot-hit Trilokpuri that stand testimony to the growing mistrust among the people and how the post-Diwali violence has divided the people.
People feel that behind the gates, they will be safe from the madness and violence that started in October a day after Diwali and continued for at least three days.
Most of the residents here belong to the lower middle-class and in the absence of an organised residents body, collections are being done to raise money for the installation of gates.
While two gates, as high as nine feet, were installed on Wednesday, construction workers were spotted working on the third gate.
Residents of Block 15, where the gates are being installed, said they felt cornered during the violence since their residential pocket is surrounded on all sides.
“We felt helpless seeing people running across the colony and pelting stones at our houses. From our terraces, we could see mischief-makers pelting stones from all the sides. Fortunately for us, those miscreants did not enter the colony but we could see them running across the boundary of the colony. There was stone pelting at other blocks too,” said Mohammed Abid, a resident and a member of the Aman Committee.
Abid claimed residents were spending at least Rs 25,000-Rs 30,000 for each gate. All 70 families living in each lane on both sides have contributed money for the gates.
About 500 families live in block 15. There are around 300 houses belonging to Muslims while the rest are occupied by Hindus. In the second week of November, the money was contributed by residents from both the communities.
“It is not about community but the need to be safe along with our families. All the families irrespective of their religion have contributed for this gate. There were houses on two plots, families living on them paid extra money. We took only the minimal amount that each house could afford,” said Hasan (who goes by a single name), another resident.
A few gates put up several years ago in the colony helped residents stay safe in their houses during the recent violence, claimed some locals. Those families whose lanes did not have gates realised the importance of one recently.
The decision to fortify the lanes was then taken by the residents last month. Each gate has a heavy iron latch, which locals believe, would be difficult to break. “Our lanes are being completely fortified. By the time, the miscreants manage to break the lock, we hope the police will come to the spot, if such an incident takes place again,” Hasan added.