TIRUCHY: The sight of police sends shivers down the spines of most vendors and farmers selling vegetables on Saravanapuram ground in Allithurai near the city. They allege police personnel behave very rudely with them.
The vendors, mostly small farmers, reach this temporary market in the morning to sell their produce. Some police personnel deem this as an offence and insist the farmers to open the stalls after 9 am. This has left many farmers worried as they would not get much sales after 9 am.
“A police officer who was passing through the area on Monday morning stopped his bike seeing my stall. He asked me to close down and start business after 9 am. The government has allowed us to sell vegetables from 6 am, but who listens to us. Left without any option, I closed the stall and police ruined our business,” said Malayalam, a vendor.
Farmers and vendors claimed they were not being victimised by senior officers, but personnel from the lower ranks. “I am only trying to sell a few vegetables like brinjal, beans and spinach cultivated on my field. I can get some business only between 6 am and 10 am, but police are not allowing us to sell. How then can we support our families,” said Mangaiyarkarasi, a farmer.
Vendors said these incidents are taking place due to miscommunication between senior officers and those on the field. However, this was no excuse for rude behaviour with poor vendors who hardly earn `300 a day, they said.
“We all start business after 6 am, the other day a policeman told me to stop. I did not say anything and started packing up. He kicked the box of vegetables. Who would buy them if they are damaged? I asked him why he was behaving this way but he had nothing to say. We are afraid of the police,” said Santhi (named changed), who sells vegetables at the market. Senior police officers said they would not tolerate such behaviour by juniors and assured action.