New Delhi, Mar 13: Delhi traders have called for a complete shutdown on Tuesday, March 13, in protest against the ongoing sealing drive in the national capital. All major wholesale and retail markets in Delhi will remain closed today as traders observe a ‘trade bandh’ to protest against the sealing drive by the municipal corporations. Among the markets that are expected to remain shut are Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Lajpat Nagar, Amar Colony, Khan Market, South Extension, Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Sadar Bazaar, Kamla Nagar, Ashok Vihar, Vikas Marg, Preet Vihar, Model Town, Azadpur and Kalkaji.

“Not even a single shop owner will open his shop in Delhi-NCR on Tuesday, every corner of the Capital will remain shut,” said Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). It added that more than seven lakh traders belonging to about 2, 500 traders associations would take part in the massive protest.

CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said that a “vyaapari panchayat” would also be held in Karol Bagh in which thousands of traders are expected to participate. “It is expected that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will not play political game and also bring a bill, to stop sealing, on the first day of the assembly session on March 16. He should also notify 351 roads for mixed land use without any further delay,” he said, reported Hindustan Times.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to skip the all-party meeting called by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to address the sealing drive carried out in Delhi by SDMC.

Confirming that the BJP would not attend the all-party meet, its Delhi general secretary Ravinder Gupta said that after a delegation of the saffron party was “misbehaved with” at the CM residence, it is clear that AAP doesn’t believe in a political dialogue.

The sealing drive is being carried out on the order of the Supreme Court over “misuse of premises”. On March 8, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) had carried out the sealing drive in the Old Double Story area of Lajpat Nagar. A day after, nearly 400 shops were sealed by the  SDMC.

Following the sealing drive, traders had alleged that they were beaten up by the Delhi Police personnel deployed on the spot. “We were not sent any notice or shown any orders. Police came at 10 am and beat up people, including women. We have paid conversion charges, we have trade licences and GST numbers… they didn’t listen to us,” Kamal Chawla told Indian Express.

Chawla also alleged that during the sealing drive, additional deputy commissioner of police Amit Sharma slapped one of his employees. “My employee Parvez was slapped by the additional DCP while he was protesting outside the shop. There was no reason for a senior police officer to raise a hand on a worker. We also requested the personnel to verify our shop documents before shutting it down, but they did not even listen to us and started using force,” he alleged.