Hundreds of jewellers from various districts in the state observed a bandh on Friday in protest against attacks against fellow traders in the city, who are increasingly becoming a soft target of robbery gangs. The most recent murder and loot of a bullion trader left several traders in the state shocked and angry with the state of their safety.
Jewellers observed a bandh in Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Rajkot and various parts of Saurashtra, while jewellers in Vadodara stayed away from the bandh in spite the request of the state Gems and Jewellery Association.
After observing a total bandh in Ahmedabad, jewellers and retailers associated with the jewellery business handed over a letter to the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner office and also handed over a copy to the state Home Department and Ahmedabad Collector. In absence of Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Shivanand Jha, the traders handed over the application to Sanjay Srivastava who is at present the in-charge CP.
In the application, the traders requested complete security in the city and an immediate crackdown on gangs operating within the city. The traders expressed their anger against poor security setup and questioned the top cop about the “callous attitude” of the police towards loots and murders.
Hemendra Chowksi, president of Maneck Chowk jewellers association said, “If such incidents continue, customers who visit the shops would not feel safe either. Locals are being targeted outside banks, jewellery showrooms, public places almost everywhere. The gangs are operating withn the city and police are clueless,”
Anger among the traders was palpable when they reached the police commissioner’s office in Ahmedabad to hand over the application. The traders even shouted slogans outside the CP’s office, questioning the lack of law and order in the city.
A similar threat to the safety was witnessed by petrol pump owners, who often move around with large amounts of cash, when petrol pump owner Pratik Patel in Shivranjini area was assaulted and looted at gunpoint. The city police, which promised to escort the petrol pump owners after the incident, extended similar help to jewellers. However, they demand more than just escort. The jewellers demanded that presence of police on roads throughout the day would ensure some amount of control on the gangs. Apart from the city traffic police, patrolling parties, who can counter such assaults and loot when traders are targeted, should be deployed. In addition to that, the gangs that are looting and murdering traders in a professional manner need to be tracked down to their roots and a 24×7 watch needs to be ensured in the city to find out when the gangs do a recee and target traders, the jewellers added.