A section of the merchants owing allegiance to the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti (KVVES) on Monday opened their shops in many of the containment zones in Kozhikode district as a token of their protest against the “unjust” regulations in the name of the pandemic threat.
The majority of those who defied rules were small-scale traders from villages who are going through serious financial crisis. They also alleged that the curbs were targeting only the merchants’ community and that it was tough for them to cooperate with it any more.
“Traders opened their shops in all the restricted places as informed by the Samiti earlier. It was not part of any open violation of rules but a move for their own survival,” said KVVES State secretary K. Sethumadhavan.
In Perambra, curbs on shops had irked a large number of traders in non-essential service category. According to them, the authorities are treating traders as those responsible for spreading the pandemic. At a recent testing camp, only two out of the 500 merchants tested positive, they claimed.
Some of the local functionaries of the KVVES alleged that the district-level directives issued as part of COVID-19 prevention measures were mostly targeting the traders’ community. In an order issued on August 29, nearly 20 regulations mentioned by the District Collector were directly related to traders, they claimed.
Meanwhile, police officials from Rural police stations said the opening of shops in micro containment zones would be treated as a violation of the COVID-19 protocol. Action would be taken on the basis of further investigations into such violations, they said.