Vendors beaten up by cops, hold protest at police station

Men in khaki allegedly tried to extort money from them

They — cops and corporation officials — don’t take money from us, but our blood. The Vasant Kunj police station was rocked by this slogan, shouted by scores of street vendors on Wednesday evening.

They were protesting against an alleged beating by police for not coughing up hafta (protection money).

According to National Association of Street Vendors of India, some policemen beat vendors making their living near Chattarpur Metro station after they refused to pay hafta.

There are over 250 street vendors in that area. The incident occurred around 3 pm when some of them refused to pay protection money to policemen and municipal officials.

Hafta

“When six vendors refused to pay the money they were beaten up by the cops,” said Ranjit Abhigyan, Program Manager, NASVI.

Though police seemed uninterested in the matter.

When Deccan Herald called Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) B S Jaiswal, he denied having any knowledge on the issue.

“I don’t know about the incident. Call me after an hour,” he said around 6 pm but didn’t take repeated calls made later.

The vendors who were beaten by three policemen include Santosh Kumar, Bhola Prasad, Ravishankar Shah, Suresh Kumar and even a female vendor Puja.

Misbehaviour

“The constables also misbehaved with her. The bribe demanding policemen put service revolver on the temple of Santosh Kumar and kicked him,” Abhigyan added.  “A large number of street vendors rushed up to the site and went straight to police station to file the complaint.”

Cops ‘identified’

According to him, street vendors have identified two of the three marauding policemen as Hemant and Mohit.

NASVI national coordinator Arbind Singh has strongly condemned the outrageous police action and demanded immediate suspension of the policemen.

He also demanded stern action against South Vasant Kunj Station House Officer Ved Prakash for letting his constables do what they liked.

If the accused are not punished the NASVI will organise protest at South Vasant Kunj police station on Thursday.

The BJP has asked corporations to look into the problems and challenges faced by the street vendors. 

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