Diwali this year is again under the shadow of a ban on firecrackers in several states across the country. National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed the orders based on several PILs seeking a ban on firecrackers. There is no scientific proof that firecrackers are among the top reasons for air pollution in heavily polluted states like Delhi. However, Diwali festivities are often vulnerable to misplaced activism such as the one that led to the ban this year.
Amid the firecrackers ban in some districts of Uttar Pradesh, the state police started a drive to take action against illegal sales of the firecrackers. A video went viral where a girl was seen crying as police officials were destroying her father’s shop for selling fireworks in Bulandshahr.
As soon as the video was shared on social media platforms, several netizens tagged Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, and demanded action against the high-handed police personnel. As expected, the government took cognizance of the video and sent the police officer to the police line for insensitive behaviour with children of the fireworks traders. Senior officials were sent to meet the families of the traders and pacify the situation.
The viral video of a trader being manhandled for selling firecrackers during Diwali
In a widely shared video on social media, a police team was seen vandalizing roadside stalls put up by small-time traders to sell firecrackers. While police officers were destroying the stalls, small kids, children of the sellers, were seen desperately trying to salvage a few firecrackers. They also tried to stop the policemen from destroying and confiscating firecrackers.
In UP’s Bulandshahar district, police crackdown against vendors selling crackers, despite ban, in a busy market in Khurja area. Bulandshahar is among 13 of the cities in state where there is blanket ban on crackers. pic.twitter.com/owFO1pqZPo— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) November 13, 2020
As soon as the senior officials and UP government learned about the incident, the police officials who destroyed the stalls were sent to the police line. The Superintendent of Police said that after getting information that some people were selling firecrackers illegally, a police team went to the location. They confiscated the firecrackers and detained the seller. He said that the police took this action as the sale and use of firecrackers were banned in the town.
SP Santosh Kumar Singh further added that the small children of the firecracker sellers surrounded the vehicle and started crying. He said that police had been directed to deal with the matter with sensitivity and empathy while following the due process of law. Later, Bulandshahr police tweeted that the head constable Brijbir has been sent to the police line for his insensitive behaviour.
Senior officials visited the family of the traders
Shalabh Mani Tripathi, Information consultant Chief Minister UP, shared information on his official account that CM Yogi Adityanath had ordered to release the traders immediately. SDM Lavi Tripathi and senior police officials visited traders’ homes with sweets and gifts for the children.
The daughter of the trader also said that her father had come back home.
मुख्यमंत्री जी का स्पष्ट निर्देश है कि पुलिस हर किसी से संवेदनशीलता से पेश आए, मुख्यमंत्री जी ने सभी वरिष्ठ अधिकारियों को रात में ही पटाखा कारोबारी के परिवार के बीच जाने के आदेश दिए,मुख्यमंत्री जी की पहल से इस परिवार की दीपावली खुशहाल और यादगार हो गई। pic.twitter.com/bgG0rPvKam— Shalabh Mani Tripathi (@shalabhmani) November 13, 2020
Some pictures of the happy child after her father came back home and UP govt and police officials bought sweets for the family.
UP Police bought Diyas etc. from roadside vendors for Diwali
Several videos have surfaced recently where UP police officials were seen buying earthen lamps (diyas) and other items from the roadside vendors across the state. In Meerut, officials bought diyas from two children who could not sell anything that too on double the price. Tripathi also informed in a tweet about an incident where police officials helped potters and purchased items from them when they brought gifts for the police personnel.
मेरठ में ड्यूटी पर तैनात इन पुलिसवालों ने देखा कि काफी देर से इन मासूमों के दिये नहीं बिक रहे,लिहाज़ा बच्चों के पास पहुँचे और उनसे ढेर सारे दिये ख़रीद लिए,वह भी दुगुनी क़ीमत पर,ये हुई ना असली दीपावली,आइए ऐसी ही दीपावली मनाएं,PM श्री @narendramodi जी के अभियान को खूब आगे बढ़ाएं। pic.twitter.com/6gOoqolDcS— Shalabh Mani Tripathi (@shalabhmani) November 13, 2020
सर,योगीजी ने आधी रात अधिकारियों को इस परिवार में भेजा,उनके स्पष्ट निर्देश हैं कि पुलिस संवेदनशीलता से पेश आए,कल जब माटी कला के दुकानदार उनके लिए उपहार लेकर आए तब उन्होंने सारा सामान ख़रीद लिया,PM और CM के आह्वान पर पुलिसवालों ने भी पटरी दुकानदारों से भरपूर ख़रीदारी कर उनकी मदद की https://t.co/1Uel0hpeDO pic.twitter.com/5jWyduea2s— Shalabh Mani Tripathi (@shalabhmani) November 14, 2020
Firecrackers ban is hurting the industry
Air quality in Delhi NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and other states is dropping continuously since last month due to uncontrolled stubble burning by the farmers. While Punjab had failed miserably to control the stubble burning, UP and Haryana have managed to bring down the numbers by more than 30%. The government has brought new laws to control pollution in the northern states of India. Still, it will take some time to implement them. Meanwhile, after the ban on firecrackers just before Diwali, traders and firecrackers industry are facing the police action and huge losses.