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SC ban on crackers: Delhi Police suspend 400 licences, traders seek Centre’s intervention

Delhi Police on Tuesday suspended around 400 licences, both permanent and temporary, issued to traders and shopkeepers to sell firecrackers in Delhi. The crackdown comes after the Supreme Court imposed a ban on sale of firecrackers till November 1

delhi Updated: Oct 11, 2017 10:58 IST
ban on crackers,Supreme court ban crackers,firecrackers
Delhi firecracker traders light crackers to protest against the Supreme Court ban on their sale in Delhi-NCR. (HT Photo)

The Delhi Police on Tuesday suspended around 400 licences, both permanent and temporary, issued to traders and shopkeepers selling firecrackers in Delhi as part of their drive to implement the directions of the Supreme Court to ban the sale of firecrackers till November 1.

The deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) of all the 13 districts of Delhi have been asked to form four to five ‘crack’ teams in the respective district to ‘catch and prosecute’ shopkeepers and traders found defying the apex court’s order.

“The members of these special teams would collect information about illegal sale of firecrackers in their areas and take action as per law. They have been asked to conduct surprise checks at such shops,” said a police officer.

However, these crack teams may not have much of a job ahead of them as vendors in Old Delhi claimed that they had not even tried to open their stores on Tuesday.

“There was no need for authorities to come and seal our shops. Anyway the stores are all closed,” said a wholesaler near Jama Masjid, whose family has been in the business for over 150 years.

Delhi Police public relation officer (PRO) Madhur Verma, said that a majority of the licences are issued for a temporary period, one or two weeks ahead of Diwali till a week after the festival, to shopkeepers and traders selling firecrackers during Diwali.

According to the apex court’s orders, the blanket ban is in effect until November 1, by when most temporary licences would have lapsed.

“What is the point of opening the stores after November 1? Who will buy crackers after Diwali? We were just discussing amongst ourselves what is to be done with stock. Maybe we should just take it home and burn it all. That has not been banned yet, right?,” said Vasu Khanna, a merchant who sets up his shop with a temporary licence during the festive season.

The DCPs have also been asked to hold meetings with traders and shopkeepers dealing in firecrackers and make them aware of the SC’s directions and legal actions that can be taken in case the directions are violated.

According to Verma, public notices through advertisements in newspapers and other mediums of communication are also being issued.

The police will also keep a tab on online sale of firecrackers, if any, and take action against the companies if they are found defying the court’s directions. Crackers cannot be sold online as they are classified as explosives.

Businessmen dealing in firecrackers from Chandni Chowk feel they have been left in the lurch. “The Central government will have to intervene, like they did against the Supreme Court order against Jallikattu, to protect not just our livelihood, but the sentiments and traditions of the Hindu people,” said DK Jain, while adding that they had customers visit the market even on Tuesday to buy crackers.

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 22:58 IST