Vegetable traders at Maharajganj Bazaar, Tripura’s largest market, threatened to roll down shutters after some of them were injured in a police action on Wednesday for allegedly not following the social distancing norms amid the COVID-19 induced lockdown. The incident took place in the morning when few traders had gathered for a ration and relief distribution event at the market.
The traders alleged that at least 35 of them sustained injuries in the police action. Seven of the injured were later taken to state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial (IGM) Hospital, where they were provided primary treatment and released.
Nakul Debnath, Secretary of Maharajganj Bazaar Retail Vegetable Trader Association, told the indianexpress.com, “We follow the government rule and regulations properly. We even put up ‘No Mask, No Vegetables’ boards in our shops earlier this month. All of us use mask as well. Masks of a few traders might have got lowered while speaking to customers. Some of the police and TSR jawans beat us irrespectively in the name of checking.”
He said the traders had decided to keep shutters down indefinitely in protest against the incident but withdrew their agitation after officials from police and local administration assured them that proper steps would be taken.
West Tripura Superintendent of Police Manik Lal Das told indianexpress.com that the action was taken to avert gathering and violation of government rules about wearing masks. However, the police has initiated a probe into the matter, he said.
Over 400 vegetable traders have their shops at Maharajganj Bazaar, which were relocated to a nearby space to maintain social distancing. Police personnel are deployed at this market along with other markets of the state to ensure social distancing.
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