Ranchi traders lock up markets
Angry and insecure over the failure of Ranchi police to arrest the criminals who had shot at and injured two businessmen of the capital last Monday, traders on Monday kept their shops and business establishments closed till 2pm.
Five criminals, suspected from Bihar, shot at brothers and jewellery store owners Rohit and Rahul Kheriwal near Lalpur Chowk in broad daylight on October 14, had an easy escape from Ranchi district and presumably Jharkhand.
Monday’s bandh was called by the Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI), the apex body of traders of Jharkhand, supported by other groups like Ranchi Goods Transport Association. Ahead of the bandh, FJCCI representatives also distributed around 50,000 pamphlets across the capital seeking support for the bandh, coming as it was right before the Dhanteras-Diwali shopping season, considered to be one of the busiest periods of the entire year.
On Monday, the capital’s two most important commercial hubs, Upper Bazaar and Main Road, bore a deserted look. In the morning, over a 100 traders staged a peaceful protest at Albert Ekka Chowk and also carried a procession across the capital.
President of the FJCCI Kunal Ajmani again said no trader would like to observe a strike but added they were helpless. “In this situation, we don’t have any option,” he said. “Since the past five days we have been carrying out symbolic protests but not a single senior police officer or senior bureaucrat met us to understand our pain. In fact, no political party contacted us,” he pointed out.
He added: “The business community of Jharkhand is the backbone of the state’s economy but there is no security for us.”
Ajmani said they were in regular touch with Ranchi senior superintendent of police Anish Gupta who had assured them that the police were making all possible efforts to trace and arrest the criminals.
“But it is also a fact that the law and order situation in the capital has worsened to an extent that criminals have no fear. If a farmer is in distress, the entire government and political class run to their support. In the case of the business class, they remain silent. Trade can’t flourish amid lawlessness,” Ajmani said.
Sunil Singh Chauhan, president of Ranchi Goods Transport Association, who joined the protest march along with the members of his outfit, said the government needed to understand that trade could only take place in a climate of security.
A week after the gun attack on the Kheriwal brothers — now in Delhi for post-operative care — Ranchi police are still clueless though eight special investigation teams, headed by as many DSPs with 40 officers, are working on the case. A DSP who did not want to be named said some suspects had been detained for questioning. “We are trying to identify the accused but honestly there is no clue so far,” he said.