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By A Newsman

Siliguri, 15 July: TRADERS at Raiganj in North Dinajpur has called a repeat trade strike on Sunday against the alleged police assault on the general secretary of Raiganj Merchants Association during the 24-hour shutdown today.

The general secretary is admitted to Raiganj District Hospital. He was allegedly assaulted by police when traders gheraoed the superintendent of police Amit Kumar Bharat for trying to lift a road blockade near the Raiganj Municipal Bus Stand during the day.

This on a day Raiganj remained completely shut following a trade strike called by Raiganj Merchants Association, and Chamber of Commerce, demanding compensation for losses caused by the Adivasi vandalism in the town yesterday and lack of policing.

The trade strike assumed the shape of a general strike with shops, markets, offices, and educational institutes. No vehicles plied throughout the day and there were hardly any people out on the streets other the traders who held agitations at many places.

In the course of the day, the traders blocked the roads near Municipal Bus Stand and Supermarket area by burning tyres and putting up bamboo barricades. They gheroed the police superintendent when he tried to lift the blockade and this resulted in a commotion.

Traders were angry because despite knowing in advance that thousands of Adivasis would be holding a rally, police did not make security arrangements to pre-empt any untoward incident.

As a result, the Adivasis, who were rallying against the sexual harassment of four of their community girls at Raiganj Municipal Bus Stand on 9 July, went berserk vandalising and torching several shops and vehicles in the town yesterday afternoon.

Traders said that had the police arrested all the six accused in the sexual harassment case, the Adivasis would not have taken out the rally in the first place. Then, the police did not take precautionary measures during the rally and this has caused the trades losses to the several crores in arson and vandalism.