PUDUCHERRY: A group of narikuravas (nomads), including women and children, staged a protest in front of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) office here, alleging highhandedness and harassment by the police.
The narikuravas, who earn a living by selling balloons and fancy goods near the Gandhi Statue on Beach Road, alleged that the policemen were not allowing them to sell their wares.
Sarangapani, a narikurava leader, said that the police and other roadside vendors constantly targeted them and spoiled their business. He said the summer vacation was the time when they could earn something, as children accompanied by their parents would come to spend the evenings near the beach and buy balloons from them.
He also claimed that the nomads were forced to sell such wares for a living as they neither had the knowledge nor the skills and money to start a new venture. They had to give up their traditional occupation of hunting due to restrictions.
Accusing the policemen of deflating their balloons, the narikuravas spread the punctured balloons in front of the IGP’s office during the protest. They claimed that the police had agreed to compensate for the loss.
R Saravanan of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), who led the protest, said that justice had not yet been rendered to a narikurava woman who was beaten up by the police last year. The woman had suffered severe injuries in her hands.
Pointing out that Section 29 of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2014, offered protection to street vendors from harassment by police and other authorities, he said the police were making a farce of the provisions of the Bill. It is also said that narikuravas in the Union Territory are not entitled to any benefits.
Grand Bazaar Sub Inspector P Sajith and A Shekar pacified the protestors. Senior Superintendant of Police (Law and Order) Omvir Singh Bishnoi assured them that action would be taken against the policemen who had harassed the narikuravas.