The injured traders were later taken to state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial (IGM) Hospital

Agartala: A probe has been ordered to look into an incident in which a group of vegetable traders were allegedly beaten up by Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawans and the police on Wednesday while enforcing social distancing norms amid COVID-19 pandemic at Maharajganj Bazar in state capital Agartala.

West Tripura SP Manik Das said that the police action was necessitated after a number of people gathered in the market area violating social distancing protocols. “An inquiry has been ordered into the incident and Sadar sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Anirban Das has been instructed to submit a report at the earliest,” Das said.

At least seven traders were injured after the police lathicharged on them for gathering in the market without wearing face masks. The injured traders were later taken to the state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial (IGM) Hospital, where they were provided primary treatment and later released.

Speaking with reporters, Nakul Debnath, secretary of Maharanganj Bazar Retail Vegetable Traders’ Association, said that they have been following the rules and regulations set by the administration, “We even placed ‘No mask, no vegetables’ boards in the shops earlier this month to raise awareness on the pandemic. Masks of a few traders might have got lowered while speaking to customers. The TSR jawans and police personnel used excessive force upon the traders in the name of checking,” Debnath alleged.

One of the traders who sustained injuries said that the police and TSR personnel beat them up in the name of checking.

Earlier, the shops in the market were relocated to nearby places to maintain social distancing and avoid mass gathering in the area.

The police and TSR jawans have been deployed in the market to ensure that no mass gathering takes place in front of shops.

The traders have announced to keep their shutters down for an indefinite period until they get assurance from the higher authorities to investigate into the alleged lathicharge of security personnel on innocent people.

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