The recent incident of clash, allegedly, between two groups of Jubo League men over the collection of extortion money and the demarcation of the territory for extortion in the capital's Mirpur area, that include the vendors using the footpaths in that area, is a cause for concern. In the clash, one Jubo League man was killed and two others were injured. Needless to say, the hawkers in the area have to live in constant fear of such incidents taking place on a regular basis.
It is an open secret that hawkers all over the city are forced to pay extortionists and the situation of the 5,000 vendors in Mirpur is no different. According to The Daily Star report, hawkers in Mirpur-10 roundabout and the adjoining areas have to pay Tk 100 to Tk 400 daily to the extortionists and an estimated Tk 50 to 60 lakh is extorted monthly from street vendors in the area. This is a huge amount of money and it is only natural for the beneficiaries of this money to engage in clashes in order to take the bigger share of the amount. This is exactly what happened in this case. Several clashes had taken place between the two groups in the last few months for taking control over the area of extortion which left many people injured.
In order to stop this crime, the nexus of local criminals, political party leaders and activists and local law enforcers—who are all involved in this extortion—must be broken. Also, the local administration should earmark areas for vendors to ply their trade so that the footpaths can be freed for use by pedestrians only.