Chaotic scenes prevailed in front of a bank in Punjab Tuesday when a guard fired gunshots in the air to disperse a crowd of people waiting to withdraw money. A Hindustan Times video showed a large group of people outside an HDFC bank in Budhlada in Mansa district of the state waiting to enter the bank and withdraw money. As the group gets restless, a security guard (unseen) fires at least three shots in the air one after other in a bid to scare people and restore normalcy. As soon as the shots are heard, the people are seen running onto the road away from the bank. A man is heard telling his friend to move away from the bank as the bullet could misfire and hit anyone.
A police officer told HT that an FIR has not been filed in the case as no one was harmed in the incident.
— Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) December 6, 2016
Violent scenes like this have been reported outside banks and ATMs since November 8 midnight when the government announced the decision to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes from circulation in a bid to cut down on black money. While the government insists the move will significantly flush out unaccounted money from the system, the opposition parties have said the decision has caused massive heartburn among ordinary people. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh termed the demonetisation move a case of ‘monumental mismanagement’ and warned it would damage the Indian economy.
While a majority of the ATMs have been re-calibrated to dispense the new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, there are reports of serious crunch in cash at several banks across the country. Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the government expects all the demonetisation money in the form of the old currencies to come back into the system. Experts had said that a part of the demonetised currency – of a value of Rs 14.17 lakh crore at the end of March 2016 – would not return to the banking system.