Sudden police action leaves traders, shoppers high and dry

The decision of the administration to close down all commercial establishments and trading units except those selling essential commodities and providing services such as hospitals and pharmacies left people high and dry in Kalaburagi on Thursday.

Police vehicles began patrolling the city at 4 p.m., blowing sirens and asking traders through loudspeakers to close their shops. In some places, including Super Market, Kapada Bazaar and Kirana Bazaar, police teams forcibly got the shops closed leaving traders as well as customers in shock. Police action created chaos in many places and left people, especially those who had arrived from villages, stranded in the city.

“We came from a faraway village to purchase clothes for a wedding ceremony. The police emerged from nowhere all of a sudden and forcibly got the cloth shop closed. They did not even give us time to complete the transaction. We don’t know what to do now. We are not sure whether we have buses to return to our village,” a man standing at Kapda Bazaar told The Hindu.

“I cannot understand what is going on. The government had said that only night curfew will be imposed. The local administration is imposing a ‘complete lockdown’ without even a small hint or prior information. I am receiving hundreds of calls from traders,” Sharanu Pappa, secretary of Hyderabad Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said.

A senior police officer, who wished not to be identified, said: “We had confusion as to how to implement the fresh restrictions announced on Wednesday.”

“There is no clarity on what is to be allowed. We received directions from higher-ups in the department on Thursday to close down everything, just as we did during the lockdown last year. We are just following the orders,” he said.

The officer justified the action stating that it is necessary to minimise crowd gathering for preventing or containing, at least, the spread of COVID-19. “Except in places such as hospitals, you don’t feel that the deadly pandemic is wreaking a havoc. Unmindful of the fresh restrictions imposed by the government, people are carelessly gathering everywhere. Most of the shops in Kapda Bazaar are heavily crowded with people who arrive for shopping clothes for marriages,” he said.

Terming the police action as “undeclared lockdown”, Deepak Gala, president of Hyderabad Karnataka Environment Awareness and Protection Organisation, said that the administration was harassing people by driving them away from the streets without giving any information in advance.

“We are not against lockdown if it is absolutely necessary to contain the spread of the deadly pandemic. But, we are opposed to the way the administration is implementing it. Instead of such sudden action, the government could have declared a lockdown and then, implement it so that people will largely remain indoors,” he said.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 6:38:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sudden-police-action-leaves-traders-shoppers-high-and-dry/article34386197.ece

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