SMC drive at HSHS evokes resentment
Traders wounded in action against ‘footpath encroachment mafia'
SYED IMRAN ALI HAMDANI
Srinagar, Apr 25: Hari Singh High Street Traders Association Monday condemned the “unprecedented action” by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in which two shopkeepers sustained injuries.
Though the shopkeepers closed their shops and staged protests against the civic body after the incident, following assurance of action against the accused by police, they resumed their business.
The senior Vice-President of the Association, Sheikh Usman Fazal said a SMC team without any provocation severely thrashed the shopkeepers.
“The SMC sleuths seized goods of some shopkeepers when they were being unloaded. When the shopkeepers demanded receipts in shape of challans, the SMC sleuths thrashed them injuring Jowhar Banday and Sheikh Arif Kareem. They are undergoing treatment in hospital,” he said.
To protest against the incident, the shopkeepers observed a strike and peaceful protests. “However, we resumed business on the assurances by SP South and other senior police officers. We apprised the police that the SMC is selectively targeting the shopkeepers and they have assured action against the accused SMC officers,” Usman said.
The traders said the SMC should have started a drive against the footpath encroachments instead of “unduly victimizing the genuine traders”.
“But instead of acting against the street vendors they flexed muscles on Shopkeepers ,” they said.
The civic body however has different story to tell.
The SMC Khilafwarzi Officer Nissar Ahmed said the traders and the footpath vendors jointly attacked the anti—encroachment squad.
“Three of us including me were wounded in the attack,” the official said.
The SMC officials said “footpath encroachment mafia” was conspiring to get the drive aborted.
“Basically a mafia of footpath vendors is at work and they want us to abort the drive,” he said adding that the drive would continue.
Meanwhile, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has condemned the action against the shopkeepers.
“The shopkeepers of Hari Singh High Street have been severely canned by the police resulting in multiple injuries to number of shopkeepers among whom condition of some is very critical,” the KCCI General Secretary Altaf Ahmed Tramboo alleged.
“The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has taken up the matter with the Divisional/District Administration for immediate action against the culprits for this un-called for action on the part of police.”
Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Apr 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Apr 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 26 Apr 2011 00:00:00 IST
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