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Delhi traders attack buses, clash with cops
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | November 07, 2006 12:00 IST
Last Updated: November 07, 2006 17:53 IST
With Delhi set to see the resumption of sealing of unauthorised business establishments, traders on Tuesday once again took to the streets during their 24-hour bandh, venting their anger on city buses, gheraoing an office of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and clashing with the police.
Over 2500 traders courted arrested in various parts of the capital to protest against the decision of the Supreme Court to seal the unauthorised shops in the residential areas. Vijay Goel, former minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, courted arrest in the Malyiva Nagar in South Delhi along with 250 shop owners.
"So far we have had good response from all parts of Delhi and markets all close in the entire capital," Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders told rediff.com on phone on Tuesday afternoon.
"Delhi observed total trade bandh on Tuesday and there were no commercial activities in any market. During the daylong trade bandh, the traders held large number of dharna, protest rallies, demonstrations in almost all markets of Delhi.
"About 7 lakh business establishments along with more than 40 lakh employees joined the trade bandh," he claimed.
The protests were by and large peaceful particularly from trans-Yamuna areas like Seelampur, Shahdara etc. Vikas Marg was blocked by the protestors for sometime in the heart of the city but was quickly opened by five battalions of Border Security Force, which had been deployed in some of the sensitive areas of Delhi.
A huge demonstration by the traders at Vikas Marg in east Delhi saw the protestors going on a rampage, blocking the traffic, damaging the road divider and setting trash cans on fire.
The other areas that witnessed violence included Rohini, Paharganj and Green Park.
Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party leaders joined hands and were present when cheques of Rs 50,000 each were presented to each of the families of people who lost their lives in violence in Seelampur in October.
Dr Harshvardhan, president of the Delhi unit of BJP, said that his party would go to any extent to protect business establishments in Delhi from dealing and will resolve the matter keeping the honour and dignity of the shop owners in mind.
The police used lathicharge and teargas at Vikas Marg in east Delhi after protestors went on a rampage and pelted stones at security personnel.
Besides damaging over half-a-dozen city buses, angry crowds broke the windowpanes of a police vehicle, which was transporting some protestors who were detained from Mayur Vihar in east Delhi.
Paramilitary forces such as Indo Tibetan Border Police and Central Reserve Police Force have been deployed at Vikas Marg, which is a major road connecting trans-Yamuna areas with central Delhi.
Traders from south Delhi markets led by a number of political leaders, including Jitender Kochar of Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party's Vijay Goel and former chief minister Madan Lal Khurana, gheraoed the MCD office in Green Park.
The protestors, including the politicos, were later detained by police.
Around 2,000 armed paramilitary personnel and the entire Delhi police were out on the streets in view of the bandh that has been backed by both ruling Congress and opposition BJP.
All schools in Delhi were closed in view of the bandh.
A similar strike on September 20 witnessed violence in Seelampur area of north-east Delhi that resulted in the death of five persons.
The last day of the three-day bandh called by traders from October 30 also saw largescale violence.
While most of the markets in Delhi were closed, shopping arcades in NDMC areas, such as Connaught Place and Khan Market remained open.
Essential services have been excluded from the bandh, said Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of Confederation of All India Traders.
He said private medical practitioners and chemists were supporting the bandh by sporting black bands on their arms, but added the health services were unaffected.
He also said autorickshaw associations had extended support to the strike and autos were off the roads.
Meanwhile, leading a traders' protest, BJP's state unit chief Harsh Vardhan charged both the Centre and Delhi government with inaction on the issue.
"They are now shedding crocodile tears. If they are so keen to provide relief to traders, why have they taken so long to implement the 2021 Master Plan," he said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Farhad Suri has called an all-party meet to discuss the sealing issue.
(With PTI Inputs)