'Harassed' vendors want to meet PM

The umbrella organisation for street vendors, NASVI, has sought an appointment with the Prime Minister to bring the alleged high-handedness of Delhi Police to his attention and put an end to it.

They say if that does not work out they will start a campaign where street vendors will write their complaints on paper against specific police personnel.

“If things do not improve, street vendors will lay siege to Delhi Police headquarters,” coordinator of National Association of Street Vendors of India Arbind Singh said.

Mohammed Abdul, a vendor leader from Jama Masjid area, said their market was evicted before Independence Day. “When asked, police told them that they have orders from the top. But orders were never shown to them,” the NGO said.

“They met higher officials telling them about the Street Vendors Act 2014 and a circular being issued by the municipal corporations not to evict them before the implementation of the act. The higher officials then avoided meeting them. They don’t know what to do now,” it added.

Sriram from Prabhu Market said street vendors are forced to pay ‘hafta’ if they want to continue doing business.

“Many a times municipal and police officials take harsh measures like beating them, confiscating their goods, detaining without entry and also the ultimate threat of eviction always looms large over them,” he said.

Singh said NASVI’s representatives met the Union Home Minister but nothing happened. “The situation has become so worse that there isn’t a street vendor who does not pay hafta to police in Delhi. They are made to realise that they live on police’s mercy,” he added.

“Many markets have been cleared and vendors are threatened and evicted.”
The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 came into effect on May 1 and it protects the rights of vendors by making it compulsory for local administration to issue a certificate of vending.

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