Fifteen-year-old Mansika Malanda was one of the two girls selected to put tilak on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forehead when he arrived at Valmiki Temple on Thursday morning. It was a proud moment for Malandas.
But despite living just 200 metres away in Valmiki Sadan, they had to watch their daughter’s special moment on live television. Most residents of Valmiki Sadan — an NDMC colony located at Mandir Marg — sat locked inside their houses during the time Modi was there. Days of excitement turned into frustration as their new favourite leader was right outside but they had no scope of even catching a glimpse. They had lots to tell him. But they fear that chance is lost forever.
“Delhi Police officials took over our balconies at around 6am. They locked the door from outside and we were not allowed to step out. We watched Mansika on TV and started getting calls from our relatives in Rajasthan, Agra and Karol Bagh,” said Sanjay Malanda, Mansika’s father and an RWA member.
The residents were let out only around 9.30am, residents claimed. Only five RWA members were allowed to be a part of the programme. RWA pradhan Virendra Tyagi even got to sweep the ground beside Modi even as he was in a tussle with an overwhelmed senior NDMC official over holding the broom.
“But we were asked to stay inside. The security personnel in fact locked our main door. It was only when I protested and shouted at them that they let only me come out,” said another resident Kamal Piwal.
The residents wanted to talk to Modi about getting ownership rights of NDMC flats where they have lived for generations. “His visit was just symbolic. He didn’t have time to hear us out. He came and cleaned already clean roads. Some officials had placed some Ashoka leaves there on purpose,” said another resident who did not wish to be named as he was an employee of NDMC.