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Give traders more time: Centre
Petitions SC as Delhi bandh ends on chaotic note
Legal Correspondent and UNI

New Delhi, November 1
A day after Municipal Corporation of Delhi moved the Supreme Court for modification of its order on sealing of illegal shops in the Capital's residential localities over which traders have launched an agitation, the Union Government also filed an application in the court today for change of its order and postpone the sealing till the final decision on the entire issue.

The government in its application, mainly sought modification of the court's September 29 order declining further time to over 40,000 traders who had given undertakings to it to shift their venture, seeking to treat them also on a par with other traders who had yet to file the affidavits and granted permission to submit them by January 31, 2007..

"It is respectfully submitted that the court may consider permitting them to continue their commercial activities… subject to their filing additional undertaking before the Monitoring Committee," the government said.

The government even went a step further of the January 31 deadline and requested the court that the Monitoring Committee appointed by it to oversee the sealing drive be asked not to go ahead with the sealing till a final decision in the case.

Earlier the Monitoring Committee in its report to the Supreme Court had also sought two weeks' moratorium on sealing, apparently in the wake of on going agitation by the traders.

Meanwhile, ahead of the resumption of the sealing drive from tomorrow, large-scale vandalism, traffic chaos and effigy burning marked the culmination of the three-day Delhi bandh, called by the traders in protest against the measure.

Reports of bus burning, road blockades and demonstrations poured in from nearly all parts of the Capital, especially East Delhi.

Scores of DTC buses were damaged in stone-pelting and their windowpane smashed by unruly protesters, who had gathered on the roads since 9 a.m. on Vikas Marg — one of the worst affected stretches.

The mob while raising anti-government slogans also burnt effigies of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit at various intersections.

After putting roadblocks at several points, people forced traffic to halt which led the police to resort to lathi charge at some places.

At Noida Morh, a massive 'chakka jaam' resulted in traffic coming to a standstill for quite some time leading to chaos. Protesters also vented their fury at DTC buses — deflating their tyres and breaking windowpanes at Mayur Vihar Phase-I.

Irate mob also burnt buses at two places — Ganesh Nagar and Shahdara — after stone-pelting failed to affect traffic flow.

Though the 'action' continued till about 2 pm at Preet Vihar, Lakshmi Nagar, Shakarpur, Noida Morh, Acharya Niketan, Mayur Vihar Phase-I and Seelampur, no reports of any casualty or anyone injured were received.

In West Delhi's Moti Bagh and Rajendra Nagar, traders blocked traffic for some time by coming on the road, holding protest demonstrations and raising slogans.

However, police presence prevented the situation from getting out of control.

In South Delhi, police had to resort to lathi charge in Malviya Nagar area after protesters pelted stones at passers-by and buses.

The situation soon became normal though protesters and traders continued to stage demonstrations and raise anti-government slogans.

The police also said it had no reports yet of anyone injured in the city-wide protests which began since morning.

"The ferocity and scale of protests, however, came down dramatically by late afternoon," said a police official.

Meanwhile, the business community today threatened to go on an indefinite strike if the sealing drive in the city resumed tomorrow, even as shops at several markets remained shut on Day three of the 72-hour bandh call by Delhi traders.

The Confederation of All-India Traders claimed that nursing homes and private clinics today remained closed in support of the bandh. "Their Out Patient Department services were also not available."

The bandh had been by and large peaceful in last 48 hours.



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