BJP bandh call hits Delhi markets

3 July 2008
The Hindu

New Delhi: Most major wholesale and retail markets in the Capital remained closed on Thursday in the wake of the bandh call issued by the Bharatiya Janata Party and supported by the traders’ organisation, the Confederation of All-India Traders, in protest against the cancellation of allotment of land to Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board in Jammu and Kashmir. Shops in Lajpat Nagar, South Extension, Yusuf Sarai, Khan Market, Green Park, Chawri Bazar, Lajpat Rai Market, Kashmere Gate and Sadar Bazar remained closed. Many local markets, particularly in North Delhi, Central Delhi, East Delhi and North-East Delhi also observed a complete bandh. Supporting the call for bandh, several markets in West Delhi, South-West Delhi and South Delhi also observed a complete bandh. They included markets in Sarojini Nagar, Janakpuri, Tilak Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Hari Nagar and Kotla Mubarakpur. In Connaught Place and Karol Bagh, the effect of the bandh was partial. Earlier in the day, BJP activists blocked traffic at DND flyway and also on Vikas Marg. The blockade was later cleared by the police. At Sultanpuri in North-West Delhi, the police had to detain some BJP workers who were blocking traffic. Traffic was also disrupted at Shakarpur and Madhuban Chowk. The traders supported the cause for which the bandh call was given, but conceded that it affected their business. “Business suffers whenever there is a bandh,” said Satinder Jain, a hardware dealer of Chawri Bazar. However, a Karol Bagh retailer rejected the idea of a bandh in Delhi for a problem that occurred in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the entire controversy was part of a political strategy to garner votes. Meanwhile, addressing a rally at Madhuban Chowk, senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said if the BJP came to power it would ensure that all possible arrangements were made for pilgrims visiting the Amarnath shrine. Mr. Naidu added that the BJP was committed to ending discrimination against Hindus and would not allow the policy of appeasement. Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan claimed that the people of Delhi had openly supported the bandh as they were genuinely feeling hurt at the J&K Government’s decision to cancel the land allotted to the Shrine Board.