| Closed shops in Bilasipara on Monday. Picture by Bijoy Kumar Sharma |
Dhubri, Sept. 1: Fourteen traders and their employees were picked up by police today in a series of raids conducted by Bilasipara police of Dhubri district in Bilasipara town for being allegedly involved in attacking sales tax officials and damaging their cars on August 22.
Traders of prominent business houses downed their shutters and fled fearing imminent arrest today.
Tension prevailed in Bilasipara town following the raids.
However, neither the office-bearers of Bilasipara Babasayee Samiti nor those of Bilasipara Swarna Silpi Samiti are taking calls and most of them have switched off their mobiles.
“We do not support the attack on the sales tax officials and damaging their cars. We also do not support the strike called on August 30 after the arrest of Surajit Basak, a worker in a jewellery shop. We are traders and always avoid this sort of conflict with the administration and the police because it is not our job,” a prominent trader of Bilasipara town told this correspondent over phone.
A section of traders said all businessmen of the town should not bear the brunt of police action just because of a fault of a few traders whose sales record books were seized by sales tax officials.
The superintendent of police, Dhubri, Mridulananda Sarma, said the police had picked up 14 people and were interrogating them.
He added that the police would pick up another 14 for their alleged involvement in attack and damaging cars. They, however, are found to be absconding.
“We are cross-examining those who had been picked up and will arrest some of them as there are written complains, material evidences and video clippings against them. Rest of them will be freed. I do not want to harass those who are innocent, but guilty people will be booked,” Sarma said.
People and traders of Bilasipara allegedly chased a team of 18 sales tax officials from Guwahati on August 22, after they entered some shops and seized their sales books.
Two of the three officials’ vehicles were damaged in stone-throwing and papers seized were taken away by the mob.
The police had to rush to the spot to rescue the officials who later lodged three FIRs against three prominent business houses of the town alleging their involvement.