Jewellers Allege ‘harassment’ By Surveillance Teams Of Ec | Rajkot News – Times of India

RAJKOT: Jewellers of Rajkot have threatened to boycott the Assembly election and go on an indefinite strike if what they call harassment by the surveillance teams of the Election Commission does not stop. Various associations have submitted memorandums to the district collector and police commissioner highlighting their concerns.
According to jewellers, the surveillance teams have cordoned off the entire Soni Bazar and Palace Road and they are checking not only the vehicles but also the purses of customers, traders and workers coming there. Surveillance teams have also been deployed big showrooms on Palace Road and some buildings where many shops are located. Rajkot is famous for jewellery making.
Generally, traders from nearby small centres come to Rajkot for making jewellery, buying bullion and repairing of ornaments. They normally exchange bullion and ornaments. For example, a jeweller looking for ornaments of a particular design would come to the market with bullion and order for the ornaments.
Workers who make jewellery for various jewellers take bullion form the jewellers and supply ornaments. This entire transaction is run on ‘kaccha chittha’. “But the surveillance teams don’t consider ‘kaccha note’ and they seize the jewellery and ask us to collect it after election by producing relevant documents,’’ said a jeweller.
Because of this “harassment”, traders from nearby small centres have stopped coming to Rajkot now, he claimed.
Mayur Adesara, secretory of Gems and Jewellery Association of Rajkot, said: “The teams check our men on the public road. We do not know who else watches during this checking. Checking on the public road exposes our men to danger. Who will be responsible if that worker is attacked with the intention of robbery?”
According to jewellers, this is a marriage season and customers come to the market with huge cash but they are being harassed and asked to produce documents and cash amount up to Rs 2 lakh to 3 lakh is being seized. The jewellers say they do not have any problem if police intercept people on specific information.
Association president Divyesh Patadiya said, “We have given an ultimatum and if the situation continues, we will be forced to close down the market and boycott the election.”
There are about 700 retail and wholesale shops in Soni Bazar and over 1,000 other shops of workers who take the job of ornament making.