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Delhi: Traders begin hunger strike
November 15, 2006 13:24 IST
Traders in the capital began an eight-day relay hunger strike on Wednesday, to protest the MCD's sealing drive.
They also sought senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani's intervention to find a political solution to the vexed issue.
A delegation of trade leaders called on the leader of the opposition in an attempt to rope in the saffron party central leadership's support to mount pressure on the Congress, which they alleged has 'mishandled' the issue.
"We apprised him of the situation and urged him to intervene on our behalf and take up the issue directly with the prime minister," Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders, told PTI.
He said Advani gave them a patient hearing and assured his party's support to any government move in Parliament to provide relief to the traders; he also promised to speak to the prime minister on the issue.
"He said the issue of sealing is not affecting traders alone and it can have a broad impact on the lives of lakhs of people. Development in a phased manner with proper planning is the only solution," Khandelwal said, quoting Advani.
The traders also began a 192-hour relay hunger strike at Rajghat to protest the sealings after keeping a low profile ever since the MCD resumed the drive last week under the thick cover of security.
Vice president of CAIT, Ramesh Khanna and traders from south and north Delhi began the strike at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi.
The hunger strike began as the MCD continued its drive against illegal commercial establishments in residential areas in West Delhi.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court also ordered stoppage of sealing till November 20 of 25,000 properties whose owners have given undertakings to shift activities.
Traders termed the apex court directive 'an order of compassion' and said 'it has given a ray of hope to them as the apex court has taken into consideration the humanitarian issues raised by the trading community'.
"We will also urge the apex court to extend stoppage of sealing to all business establishments existed in the capital as of December 31, 2005," Khandelwal added.