Nagpur: Whatsapp messages and messages on social media seem to have their desired effect on the citizens of Nagpur.
A Whatsapp message has been taking its round among the citizens which said that
“Since Yakub is being hanged in Nagpur Central Prison, City is on high alert. Please do not send the children to schools. Any school can become a target. All Collegiate Students/teachers please take a leave tomorrow. Declare mass-bunks. Please avoid visiting market places, especially Sitabuldi, Mahal, Itwari, Sadar, Khamla and also Malls like Empress Mall, Shrishivam Mall, Cimemax and all others. Public places like railway station, bus-stands, banks, airports are too on high security as they stand to be most prone to any threat. Many Sangatnas would revolt against these petition and create riots. Please stay safe”.
Nagpur Today ventured out to see if this message had any effect on the citizens of Nagpur. While many schools functioned normally, the attendance in most schools was 75-80%. Some schools like Hadas High School decided to keep their schools closed. The students had to return back to their homes.
Empress City Mall: The Security at almost all the entry points are increased and strict frisking and checking is being conducted. While speaking to Nagpur Today, some security personnel on condition of anonymity claimed that the mall is practically empty and only about 25% footfall is seen. While all the shops and business establishments remained open, the number of customers of these shops was practically nil or minimal. The food-court on the third floor which, on any other week-day is crowded was practically bore a deserted look. The managers or proprietors of the food kiosks claimed that the people who are eating are the staff working in the shops and business establishment in Empress City Mall. One of the Biryani Kiosk owners claimed, usually their first order is taken somewhere at 11 am, but today the first order was received at around 2:30 pm.
Cotton Market: The Cotton Market where one gets vegetables on wholesale rates and in bulk was practically empty. While some vegetable vendors claimed that the trade is significantly on the lower side (dhanda mandi mey hai), other claimed that this absence of crowd could be because of the warning issued by police to beware of crowded areas. Many vegetable vendors are seen simply decorating their stalls to attract customers. Except those hoteliers who have to buy vegetables for their hotels and restaurants, the crowd of Nagpur citizens chose to remain away from the Cotton Market.
Sitabuldi Market: The Sitabuldi market too had around 25% crowd, though almost all the shops and business establishment remained open. While speaking to Nagpur Today on condition of anonymity some shopkeepers claimed that except for a few footfalls, the proprietors of many shops are just whiling away their time. However, they claimed that by evening some business may increase.
Even the Traffic Policemen post on the entry to the Sitabuldi Market claimed that the crowd is significantly low as compared to other days.
Eternity Mall: Like the Empress City Mall, the Security of Eternity Mall at all the entry points are increased and strict frisking and checking was being conducted strictly. While speaking to Nagpur Today, the security personnel claimed that the mall is not noticing the kind of crowds which they usually see on other days. They claimed that around 45% footfall is seen. While all the shops and business establishments remained open, the number of customers of these shops was practically nil or very less. The food-court of Eternity Mall too was practically empty. Barring a few, most of the managers or proprietors of the food kiosks claimed that they have been idle from morning. The few people who are seated and are eating are college students or some of the staff working in the shops and business establishment in Eternity Mall.
By Samuel Gunasekharan