On 20 April, 3 days after Moni’s husband and brother-in-law were arrested by the Delhi Police in the Jahangirpuri clash, she lost her only source of income: the family-run paan shop. Among the many structures that were demolished in the anti-encroachment drive by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the paan shop was also one.
Speaking to The Quint on Thursday, a day after the drive, Moni said she has “lost everything.”
“First, they arrested my husband and brother-in-law, I was just struggling to figure out how to handle our earnings and livelihood without them...and then this happened. I am completely broken and alone now,” she said.
The paan shop was situated right opposite the lane where the family resides. “We live in a joint family. We also have kids to feed. Moreover, I am already so stressed about his arrest. He might be getting beaten up and harassed in the jail, it’s all getting too much,” she said.
On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court ordered halting of the demolitions, but by then several shops had already been razed, including that of Moni’s. Many shops continued to be demolished till at least an hour after the demolition.
“What was the point of the court ruling, our shops were already gone by then, it was too late. We have nothing left,” she said.
'Needed Paan Shop To Make Money After Husband's Arrest'
Moni's husband, Muktyaar and and brother-in-law Akshar were arrested in the early hours of 17 April, a day after violence broke out in Jahangirpuri.
“About 15 odd police officers barged into our house and took the two men away, we kept telling them that they have done nothing, they are not guilty for any violence but they didn’t listen,” Moni said.
Over 25 people have been arrested so far in the case, and a majority are Muslims.
“As it is, we were facing a lot of hostility in the region after the arrests. People were referring to us as “dangai ka parivar” (family of rioters) or “Bangladeshi”. It was becoming difficult to venture out of our homes, the paan shop was needed to make some money and help the family, but now even that wouldn’t be an option,” Moni added.
The family hails from Medinipur district in West Bengal.
The demolition drive followed a clash that took place over the weekend on occasion of the Hanuman Jayanti. A Shobha Yatra took place in such people were seen carrying swords going past a mosque in the area. The yatra members allegedly began raising slogans of “Jisko is desh mein rehna hoga, Jai Sri Ram kehna hoga”(if you want to live in this country, you have to say Jai Sri Ram) in front of the mosque after which people inside the mosque allegedly began pelting stones.