Shopkeepers go on strike under pretext of threats from “anti-social elements”

Alleging that “anti-social elements” were threatening them and demanding money for their protection, traders and commissionaires from Halvad APMC went on an indefinite strike from Friday and announced that they would continue their strike until then. that the police take action against these elements.

The construction site of Halvad APMC (Agricultural Commodity Market Committee), one of the largest wholesale markets in the Saurashtra region, looked deserted as traders and commission agents went on strike. Their decision came a day after they submitted a memorandum to the police alleging that a Jaspalsinh Jhala from Kondh village, located in neighboring Dhrangadhra taluka in Surendranagar district, had repeatedly asked for money. protection to Janak Dalwadi, one of the 210 traders of Halvad APMC. The memorandum stated that Jhala asked Dalwadi for protection of Rs 90 lakh about four months ago.

About ten days ago, the accused again threatened Dalwadi. On December 15, the accused intercepted the victim at a crossroads and once again threatened the trader, the memorandum handed over to the police by traders on Thursday read.

“It is not a question of the action carried out by the police against the antisocial elements but of the unity of the traders. If this continues, these elements will feel emboldened and start to believe that they can extort money from anyone. Therefore, we are on strike, ”said Hitesh Thakkar, head of traders at Halvad APMC on Friday.

After Dalwadi’s complaint, police convicted Jhala of attempted extortion and criminal intimidation and arrested him about four months ago. The accused was however released on bail later.

The APMC administration said it was with traders on the issue. “The first time, the accused dared to go to Dalwadi’s office and ask for money for protection. There again, he intercepted Sara Chowkadi’s trader and demanded money for protection. How can traders do business in such an environment? How APMCs can operate without traders. Therefore, we demand that the accused be arrested immediately and obtain a taste law by applying the appropriate sections of the IPC against him, ”said Ranchhod Patel, President of Halvad APMC.

Halvad APMC is a major primary market for cottonseed, peanut, fennel and cumin seeds. Dalwadi told reporters on Friday that on December 15, Jhala told him he hadn’t forgotten him and wanted money even now.

Meanwhile, police said they were taking legal action. “We booked and arrested the accused after receiving the first extortion auction complaint. After the accused was released on bail and threatened the accused again, we registered the victim’s complaint once more and filed another FIR against the accused under section 506 (2) of IPC (criminal intimidation). The accused is currently at large. But we will invoke PASA (law on the prevention of anti-social activities) if this is justified, ”said Subodh Odedra, police commissioner for the Morbi district.

The SP said police officers had already arranged a meeting with traders from Halvad APMC and assured them of proper legal action against the accused.

The president said he called the striking traders for a meeting on Saturday to discuss the problem and find a solution.

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