BANGALORE: All roads might lead to various protest venues in the city, but Mysore Bank Circle near City Civil Court wore a forlorn look. The usually bustling stretch, on Monday, did not see any brisk business for the past few days, thanks to the beguiling and pervading calm in the area.
The recent clash between lawyers and police led to damage of property affecting the hawkers and street vendors the most. This stretch generally has hundreds of hawkers and street vendors selling their wares everyday. From dry-fruits, peanuts, banana, and fruit salads to mobile phone accessories, China goods like torches, pens and batteries, one could find almost anything here. Also, cobblers and chaat makers found prominent locations to sell their skills. In the evening, employees from several government departments located in the vicinity buy their daily needs.
City Express visited the area on Monday and found that the calm was just a facade for a very tense atmosphere and the stretch was literally empty. Lawyers were the only people seen to be moving around in the open, under the watchful eyes of policemen. It was difficult to find anyone braving this territory alone, as groups of people watched each other carefully. Lawyers, alleging that media did not portray their version of the story, decided to use loud speakers to get their point across. This was the only sign of noise, a departure from the calls of the vendors calling attention to their wares.
We spoke to a few hawkers, who braved the situation to exhibit their wares. “I am sad that such an incident happened here. But, my livelihood depends on my selling shirts and ties here. I earn about `300 to `400 a day. This is the only source of income for my family. For the last three days, however, the atmosphere here is so tense that we are scared. Also, there has been no business. The public and even the other sellers are scared to come here,” said Shankar (name changed), a regular hawker here.
In fact, most hawkers did not want to be seen talking to the public in a genial manner and refused to talk to journalists. Another hawker said, “I had started selling vegetables here only recently. I used to sell more in the evening and after a day of regular business. I earned around Rs 1,000 a day. After the incident, the police is not allowing me to do any business here. I hope everything is resolved at the earliest,” said Umadevi (name changed), a vegetable vendor. Since the court had declared a holiday, there were no people in sight hitting the livelihood of these people who only remain victims.