Owners of shops near Red Fort rue closure ahead of I-Day

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New Delhi, Aug 15 (UNI) When everyone had reason to smile on the occasion of Independence Day today, there was one lot of people who did not seem happy and amused, despite the occasion warranting it.

And that lot consisted of hawkers, vendors and the owners of the shops near the Red Fort, who make their living selling various items.

''Some of the shops were closed two days prior to Independence Day celebrations and vendors and hawkers are shooed away due to security concerns and sanitisation of the area. We understand the importance of celebrations and the significance of the day. But one thing that pricks us is that it affects our livelihood for a while and it hits our pocket,'' Robin, who has an electric equipment shop near the fort, bemoaned.

Gabbar Singh, an ice-cream vendor, said he had been asked to leave the area for 15 days ahead of the celebrations and come back only after the grand event was over.

Police officials, who did not want to give away their identities, said it was a routine drill before I-Day celebrations every year and they had no other option but to do it as security concerns warranted it.

''But it is never our intention to hit the livelihoods of the vendors, hawkers or shopowners, sometimes it becomes a compulsion and our duty is to do that, though we ourselves don't like it. It is their proximity to the area which hits them hard,'' he rued.

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