Shivajinagar traders lose Rs 1 cr for anti-CAA message

Shivajinagar traders swallow Rs 1-cr losses for anti-CAA message

Hundreds take part in a protest against CAA at Shivajinagar in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Several shops in the area were shut in support of the protest. DH Photos/Pushkar V

The busy bylanes of Shivajinagar wore a deserted look as a shutdown called by the Cantonment People's Federation to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) brought trade and commerce to a halt in the historic market area on Tuesday. 

Mohammed Idrees Choudhary, the General Secretary of the Russell Market Traders' Association, said that in addition to the 475 shops within the market complex, the closure of other markets in the area, including Ibrahim Sahib Street and Bamboo Bazaar, brought the total number of shuttered shops to several thousands. 

"The shuttering of businesses in Russell Market alone resulted in a net loss of Rs 20 lakh," he said, clarifying that farmers who transported produce to sell to traders early in the morning were also affected. 

S A Imtiaz Pasha, the General Secretary of the Traders' Association for Ibrahim Sahib Street, which also participated in the closures, estimated that the total losses to business across the area amounted to over Rs 1.10 crore. Shivajinagar police, however, said that they believed that the total number of closed shops amounted to a few hundred. 

Pasha, who said that he owns three shops, added his personal losses for the day ranged from Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000.

"Despite the financial hardships prompted by the closures, we are prepared to repeat the exercise if the government does not repeal the CAA," Pasha said. "We don't care about salvaging our businesses at this stage, because the stakes are so much higher. We are protesting against laws that may affect us through the generations." 

Choudhary pointed out that Wednesday is an important day. "In the event that the Supreme Court does not give us relief, we are prepared to hold such bandhs again," he said. 

It is no idle threat, according to Maulana Zulfiqar Noori, the Imam of the Masjid-e-Bilal on Tannery Road, who spoke at the protest. 

Another speaker likened the struggle to a new Independence struggle. "How we fought to free the country from the British, we will now fight to free the country from Modi’s leadership," he said. 

 

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