Burnt in N-E Delhi riots, Gokulpuri tyre mkt reopens as shopkeepers try to forget trauma

new delhi: It has been more than five months since Mohammed Zahid has been out of work and five months since his small shop at the Gokulpuri tire market was burnt to ashes during the riots in February, that killed over 53 people that authorities know of.

"It was God who looked after us during this whole incident," he said while looking at his shop. The shop, newly painted blue, was among the renovation and reconstruction projects by Delhi Waqf Board and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, a leading Islamic organisation founded in 1919.

"This was one of the most famous tyre markets, which consists of 224 shops, out of which 57 were burnt during the riots. We have fulfilled and finished the renovation project. Meanwhile, the name of this market has been changed to Jamiat tyre market," Hakimuddin Azami, secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind said.

According to the shopkeepers, the shop was burnt in four phases, with the mob trying to damage as much as they could. Zahid said that the front porch of the area was the first one to be lit. "The area was burnt till February 25 evening when the mob came and lit the other shops. They got hold of some handful small ones and lit them on fire," he added.

Mohammed Asaaz and his brother own two shops in the narrow dingy lanes of the market area, both were burnt and looted by the mob. "There was tension all around since February 22 and we had left early due to this on February 23. We came to know about our shops through the news channels only as everyone in the vicinity had run away," he said.

While Zahid faced a loss of Rs 2 to 3 lakh, Asaaz said he had to incur a loss of Rs 6 to 7 lakh. Both the men had also filled the compensation form introduced by the Delhi government, for those who had suffered life and property damage in the violent riots that shook the national Capital.

"It was the Jamiat organization that rebuilt our shops; else we have received no help from the government whatsoever. For almost five months we were at home with nothing to do and somehow managing to live our lives," said Zahid. The shop owners and workers were not allowed to enter the area even when the riots had simmered down. "It was almost after a week that we came and looked at the damage done to our shops," Asaz added.

Mohammed Anees, who owns a small tyre shop in the right-hand corner of the area, said that it has just been four days that they have started opening their shops, today being the official reopening. "I have faced a loss of almost Rs 7 lakh. The shop was totally ruined and was turned to ashes just like our lives. It has been so difficult to sit without work, while all our savings are almost getting over," he said.

Many shops were not burnt, however, owners claim they were looted with many parts missing or damaged. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind officials said they chose July 24 with a reason to show that five months prior, on the same day, a mob ruined their livelihood but they have landed back on

their feet.

Next Story
Share it