Visuals of police personnel resorting to violence against shopkeepers and vegetable sellers in the Haveri district of Karnataka surfaced on social media platforms on Monday. The police allegedly resorted to violence as the roadside vegetable vendors kept their shops open even after 10 am, thus allegedly violating the lockdown guidelines.
Karnataka is currently under lockdown, with guidelines stating that stores selling essential items, including groceries, can remain open only between 6 am and 10 am daily. However, the sale of vegetables and fruits on pushcarts and HOPCOMS will be allowed from 6 am to 6 pm. Roadside vendors, technically, would come under the pushcart category.
Videos of the incident show a group of police officers beating those who had come to the market to buy supplies and the sellers with coloured PVC or rubber pipes. Policemen were also seen arguing with a couple of women sellers and another man on the street.
Roadside vegetable vendors beaten up in an attempt to move them by the police at #Hirekerur of #Haveri on Monday. Police said the vendors were sitting even after 10 am @DgpKarnataka @santwana99 @BSBommai @ramupatil_TNIE @KiranTNIE1 @XpressBengaluru @karnatakacom @Namma_HD pic.twitter.com/X9bVUmAyOBâ€” Amit Upadhye (@Amitsen_TNIE) May 10, 2021
In another similar incident in Gandhinagar in Bengaluru, administrative officers allegedly visited the market and forced sellers to down their shutters before 10 am on Monday. In one video, Nagaraja, a seller at Gandhinagar, said that it is extremely difficult for sellers like him to continue their livelihoods in this scenario. â€śOfficials came before 10 am and shut our shops. How do we make our living with this deadline? We carry our business by maintaining physical distance and also keep sanitiser,â€ť he said.
Recently, the government of Karnataka extended the state-wide lockdown till May 24 due to the increasing COVID-19 cases in the state. According to the lockdown guidelines, shops selling essential items like food, groceries, vegetables, fruits, dairy, milk, meat, fish and animal fodder are permitted to operate from 6 am to 10 am every day.
Meanwhile, pushcarts selling vegetables and fruits and HOPCOMS (Horticultural Producers' Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society) can offer services from 6 am to 6 pm. Milk booths are also permitted to operate between 6 am and 6 pm.
Public transport will remain suspended and people will not be allowed to move around except in case of emergencies, essential services or vaccination. Use of private vehicles to buy parcel food is also not allowed and only home delivery of such food is allowed according to the revised guidelines.