Maharashtra Bandh over Lakhimpur Kheri violence: In U-turn, traders' association says shops will remain closed till 4 pm

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MUMBAI: The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) had objected to the Maharashtra Bandh called by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to protest against the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. The traders’ union in a statement had said they were limping back to business after eighteen months of lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the bandh would hit their earnings.

However, in a U-turn, FRTWA has decided to support the Maharashtra Bandh. “After the request of Shiv Sena and other party leaders, we have decided to keep shops closed till 4 pm in support of the bandh call by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in protest against killing of farmers,” Viren Shah, chief of Federation of Retail Traders’ Welfare Association (FRTWA), said in an amended statement.

In Pune, several trade organisations have expressed their support for Monday’s bandh. The Federation of Trade Association of Pune (FTAP) president Fattechand Ranka said all shops, except those dealing in essential items, will remain closed till 3 pm.

Over 2,000 traders dealing in fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains, onions and potatoes, etc will support the bandh to show solidarity with farmers who play an all-important role in their sector, said Rohan Ursal, secretary of the Shree Chhatrapati Shivaji Market Yard Adate (Traders) Association.

Transport is also likely to be hit in Maharashtra’s second largest city as rickshaw unions have decided to not ply their vehicles during the duration of the shutdown on Monday.

“Our organisation and several other transport groups will be supporting the bandh,” said Rickshaw Panchayat functionary Nitin Pawar.

However, commuting respite for the public is expected from the civic-run Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd, which has decided to run extra buses on Monday.

“As PMPML services fall under the essential category, we will be functioning on Monday, and have decided to ply extra buses, on all routes if needed,” said its transport manager DM Zende.

Earlier in the day, the MVA has appealed to the people to wholeheartedly support Monday’s state-wide bandh.

“The state-wide bandh will commence from 12 midnight,” NCP spokesman and state minister Nawab Malik said on Sunday.

The workers of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress are meeting citizens with an appeal to participate in the bandh wholeheartedly and express their solidarity with farmers, he added.

“The BJP-led central government has allowed the loot of agriculture produce through the three newly-enacted farm laws and now the kin of its minister is killing farmers. We have to show solidarity with the cultivators,” he said.

The MVA demands that Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra be sacked, the NCP leader added.

“It was only after the Supreme Court’s intervention that the minister’s son was arrested,” he further said.

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Published on: Sunday, October 10, 2021, 11:01 PM IST