Sealings: Delhi shops to protest court order
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Sealings: Delhi shops to protest court order

Shops across Delhi will shut for three days this week to protest a court order to close illegal businesses.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2006 18:20 IST

Shops across New Delhi will shut for three days this week to protest a court-order to close businesses operating illegally in residential areas, a retail lobby group said on Sunday.

The "shutdown called by trade bodies of Delhi ... has received wide support," said Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of the Delhi Trade Association. He said shops would close from Monday.

"Not only are the concerned sections supporting us, but we have groups and organisations who not directly affected by the sealing drive, also joining our protest," he said.

The shop owners will march to the Delhi state assembly on Monday to register their complaint with the government and hold sit down protests across the city on Tuesday and Wednesday, Khandelwal said.

"In view of not putting the people of Delhi into any inconvenience, essential services, vegetables and transport have been exempted from" the protests, he said.

The campaign follows a Supreme Court order last month for the city to close and demolish more than 18,000 illegal buildings in New Delhi. The order affects thousands of small shops in residential areas.

Since the order was issued on September 1, hundreds of buildings have been sealed or razed, leading to violent protests by residents and shop owners as long-time businesses of nearly 14 million people were shut in the city.

Residents say New Delhi municipal authorities encourage the illegal building of shops and houses by accepting bribes.

Violent protests against the sealing of shops last month claimed four lives as groups clashed with anti-riot police and paramilitary personnel.

The bloody clashes prompted the federal Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy to suggest a special session of Parliament to pass a law to legalise thousands of shops and businesses in New Delhi for a fee.

First Published: Oct 29, 2006 17:18 IST