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400 shopkeepers join market bandh

The usual hustle bustle at Golmuri market, a popular commercial hub in Jamshedpur, was missing on Friday as over 400 shopkeepers downed shutters in a show of solidarity against the gun attack on a fellow trader.

The 24-hour shutdown by Golmuri Bazaar Vyapar Samiti evoked spontaneous response from the business community, which has erupted against the police’s failure to nab the bike-borne criminals, who shot at 32-year-old Amit Agrawal after robbing him of Rs 1,300 on December 23 night.

Agrawal, who was hit by four bullets, was released from Tata Main Hospital on Thursday.

“In June this year, a rice trader, Vinod Agrawal, was shot dead. None of us is safe as police are not being able to crack the cases,” Goldi Saini, a shop owner, told The Telegraph.

Another trader, Rohit Bansal, said despite incurring losses, they went ahead with the shutdown. “Golmuri is a big market, drawing customers from Telco, Sidhgora, Agrico and Burmamines. But we didn’t think twice before shutting shops in protest against the incident,” Bansal added.

A key functionary of Golmuri Bazaar Vyapar Samiti, Manoj Kumar Khetri, said no shop at the market was open. “Even banks were supporting us till the administration intervened. In the morning, Golmuri inspector Nehalluddin Khan approached us and asked us to open the shops. When none of us agreed, he contacted the managers of eight banks and made them open their branches around 11.30am,” he said.

A resident of Golmuri, Agrawal was going to a relative’s house on December 23 when the bike gang shot at him at Tinplate. Around half an hour later, the same gang targeted a truck driver, Satpal Singh, at Burmamines.

A day after the twin assaults, senior superintendent of police Amol V. Homkar had assured the protesting traders that the shooters would be nailed in 48 hours. But 96 hours passed without any result.

Deputy superintendent of police (city) K.N. Chowdhury reiterated that they had already identified the assailants and would arrest them soon. “We are making all efforts to track down the culprits, who have been identified,” he told The Telegraph, adding that market shutdowns would not solve the issue.

Members of Golmuri Bazaar Vyapar Samiti, however, vowed to intensify their agitation if the police failed to arrest the criminals.