Srinagar vendors protest police action, block traffic at Lalchowk

Srinagar:  Forcible attempt to remove road side vendors sparked protests in the business nerve center of Srinagar, Lal chowk, today after police tried to clear encroachments on sidewalks.

Irked by the police action, road side vendors hit the road and blocked it with carts and folding beds; burned thrash at many place – bringing the traffic to halt for nearly two hours.

Later police suspended the action against the vendors.

The police action came at a time when road side vendors had put up carts and stalls alongside foot paths and on both sides of Lal Chowk for Eid-Ul –Fitr eve.

Finding a lukewarm response from the public towards the police drive, a government employee, Abdul Hamid Bhat complained, “it was very difficult to drive around Lal Chowk. The place already faces a parking problem and these makeshift shops further complicate the problem.”

The inconvenience for motorists notwithstanding, Feroz Ahmed Khan, a resident out shopping said, “it was not right for the police to act at such a time. Everyone was busy shopping and the police action only created a lot of problems for us as we had to park the our vehicle a mile away.”

A senior police said that the drive to clear foot paths of encroachments by small time vendors was only launched after several complaints were received a couple of days ago.

Zahid Maqbool is a freelance journalist based in Srinagar.

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