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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2006, 04:21 GMT
Traders strike in Indian capital
A protest by the traders last week turned violent
A protest by the traders last week turned violent
Traders in the Indian capital, Delhi, are holding a one day strike in protest against a court order to close illegal businesses in residential areas.

Shopkeepers say the moves will affect the livelihoods of 500,000 people.

Security is tight on the streets of Delhi, and police contingents were seen outside some of the city's major markets early in the morning.

The Supreme Court has ordered the authorities to seek help from the police to carry out the drive.

Major city markets are expected to remain closed on Tuesday. Several private and public schools have also decided to remain closed fearing violence on the streets.

Some protestors were reported to have attacked passenger buses in the north of the capital.

Angry traders held a three-day strike last week, closing most of the city's shops. In September four people died as protests turned violent.

A total of 44,000 illegal businesses have been targeted during the controversial ongoing drive.

'Dagger'

On Monday, the Supreme Court dismissed petitions filed by the federal government and Delhi's local government.

The petitions had said that the closures could threaten law and order in Delhi.

"No one can be permitted to place a dagger at the government's neck and seek relief. No one can be permitted to hold the city and its law-abiding citizens to ransom," the Supreme Court order said.

"It is the obligation of governments to ensure compliance of the orders of this court."

The drive against illegal businesses in residential areas began last year after the Supreme Court said a ban on such shops had to be enforced.

Protests across Delhi have since become widespread.

Traders say municipal authorities often take money from the poor and the middle-class in return for turning a blind eye to illegal constructions or encroachments on public land.


SEE ALSO
Delhi shop protests turn violent
01 Nov 06 |  South Asia
Temporary relief for Delhi shops
29 Sep 06 |  South Asia
Delhi protest toll rises to four
21 Sep 06 |  South Asia
Why so much of Delhi is illegal
04 Feb 06 |  South Asia
India's 'biggest slum demolitions'
03 Feb 05 |  South Asia

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