Some of the vendors were reportedly injured in the process
Street vendors from the Central Market on Wednesday staged a demonstration against the Traffic (West) Police Sub Inspector Gopala Krishna Bhat's action against a few vendors on Tuesday evening.
The vendors said the police officer, who had been posted a few days ago, suddenly started taking action against those operating near the fish market. “He snatched my weighing machine and dragged me into his vehicle,” said Nawaz, who was selling vegetables on a push cart. The sub-inspector then took away the weighing machines of three other vendors. U.N. Abbu, an aged vendor, hurt his hand while trying to save his weighing machine. Another vendor Shanta said she was hurt when a one kg butt fell on her right hand. She was treated at the Government Wenlock Hospital.
On his part, Mr. Nawaz said the police sub-inspector was in no mood to listen to him. “I was carrying out my business without causing any difficulty to people. I have been falsely booked for offence of hindering traffic movement. I have been asked to pay a fine before the 2nd JMFC court on August 11,” he said. The vendors said it was a great relief for them as Mangalore City Corporation had stopped the drive to evict them using “Civic Tiger” vehicle for the past 15 days. “We had a difficult time in last three months. Hence we had requested the administration to give us relief during this season of Ramzan and other festivals,” said B.M. Hassan. The administration had assured them of allotting an alternative place, he added.
A.M. Attaullah, a vendor, said the action of Mr. Bhat had hurt them. “During Ramzan we do not do any wrong things. We undertake fast and we are taught not to take hasty steps during this period,” he said.
Despite making the policeman know about these aspects, the police officer dragged Nawaz into his vehicle, he said, asking, “Has he committed a serious crime to deserve such a treatment?” Mr. Bhat wanted the three vendors to give their addresses for booking of cases and pay fine in the court, he said.
Sunil Kumar Bajal, convener of Street Vendors Action Committee, said the act of the police sub-inspector had brought a bad name to the city police, who had been sympathetic to the cause of the street vendors. Criticising the highhandedness of Mr. Bhat, Vasanth Achary demanded proper explanation from senior police officers and initiation of disciplinary action. Commissioner of Police Seemant Kumar Singh said he would check the allegations made against the sub-inspector and take appropriate action.