After meeting CM, Pune traders against LBT call off strike

May 21, 2013, 01:14 IST | A Correspondent

Traders called off the bandh last night after receiving assurance from Chavan, but not before some shopkeepers got lathicharged outside the ex-mayor's house

The indefinite bandh being waged by the Pune Trader's Association in the city since May 8, was finally called off yesterday after a meeting with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in Mumbai.

In one voice: Violence broke out just when the traders had assembled to tell former mayor Yogesh Bahal that they wanted to protest peacefully. Pics/Krunal Gosavi

Talking about calling off the bandh, the President of Pune Trader’'s Association Popatlal Oswal said, “The meeting was held yesterday at noon and late in the evening we met CM Chavan with 85 representatives. As all the stringent provisions of LBT have been removed by the state government, we have decided to call off the bandh.”

The day was eventful with some traders protesting near former mayor and president of NCP Pimpri-Chinchwad unit Yogesh Bahal’s house. They were lathicharged by the police. It all started when the NCP threatened they would force all shops open. However, they later retreated saying they would not take the law into their hands. However, after a rumour started doing the rounds that NCP workers were forcefully opening shops in the Pimpri-Chinchwad area, a mob of around 300 furious traders headed towards the former mayor’s house.

“We wanted to meet former mayor to tell him that we want to protest in a peaceful manner. However as it was the NCP’s jurisdiction, they used police force and beat up traders,” said president of Sant Tukaram Nagar Trader’s Association, Kiran Suvarna. He said that police not only beat the traders but also arrested five traders including him.

“Since the last two months we have been protesting in a peaceful manner and yesterday we wanted to give the keys of our shops to NCP workers and tell them that instead of forcefully opening shops, they should open it with the keys,” said Suvarna. PI Mohan Vidhate said the traders didn’t take permission. “The traders were headed to former mayor Yogesh Bahal’s house and were very aggressive. That’s why we had to lathicharge them,” said Vidhate.

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