The city-wide bandh call by the traders did not stall the Supreme Court-initiated sealing drive on Friday. The MCD officials sealed 116 shops in the posh Greater Kailash-I colony targeting jewellery showrooms and designer boutiques.
On two previous occasions, when the traders had observed complete shutdown, the sealing drive had to be postponed on account of the law and order problems with traders being out in the streets in full strength.
The traders at GK offered little resistance on Friday.
“What can we do if they deploy military before us? Our only fault is that we are not terrorists but law abiding citizens,” said Naresh Chander. Friday’s drive started around from Hans Raj Gupta Marg. Kangaroo Kids, a play school, was the first target. The school management was caught by surprise and sought time to vacate the premises.
Anxious parents lined up at the school as they heard the news about the school being sealed to take their children home.
“Those children, whose parents could not be contacted, were sent in school-owned vehicles accompanied by their teachers,” said a school official. Leela Jewellers and Ashoka Arcade are among the hi-profile establishments targeted by the MCD.
Shutters were also brought down on the office of a private news channel.The drive witnessed emotional scenes as some of the shopkeepers started crying inconsolably on seeing their only source of livelihood being sealed.
Shopkeeper Sandhya Gupta tried in vain to plead with the MCD officials that she had stopped misusing the property.
“The court orders were to stop the misuse — now that we have vacated the shops, there is no ground for them to seal the property. The MCD officials are not open to any logic or reasoning,” said Shail Gill, owner of Edge showroom.
There were some tense moments when the MCD officials reached Kids at Home — a children’s furnishing store. All market traders assembled at the steps of the adjoining shop and dared the MCD officials to proceed. However, the crowd dispersed meekly as Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel stepped in and cleared the way for the MCD officials.
The traders' 24-hour anti-sealing bandh evoked mixed response even as the MCD carried on with the court-ordered action, targeting some high-profile premises including a property owned by former cricketer Kapil Dev.
The traders' protest appeared to have run out of steam with several markets like Connaught Place, Janpath, Khan Market, Sarojini Nagar, Chandni Chowk and Daryaganj, remaining open. The bandh was largely incident-free in contrast to the recent strikes by the traders that witnessed violence.