In view of demonetization, the government has extended working hours of banks and claimed that inconvenience is temporary but the condition on the ground is worst as cash-strapped people looted ration stores, pelted stones on banks and some of them collapsed out of exhaustion and stress across the country.
Following demonetisation long serpentine queues were witnessed at bank branches for the third straight day. To add to the misery still half of the ATMs were non-functional, making people get agitated about the lack of preparedness for the note exchange programme.
In a shocking incident, villagers in Madhya Pradesh’s Bardua village looted a public distribution system shop (PDS) after its owner refused to accept the now-defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currencies for groceries.
A group of villagers turned up at the shop to buy food grains on Friday and an altercation ensued between them and shop owner Munnilal Ahirwar after the latter refused to accept old currencies of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, police said.
Following the verbal battle with Ahirwar, angry villagers barged into the PDS shop and looted sacks of wheat, rice and sugar.
The shop owner Munni Lal Ahirwar alleged in his complaint that the villagers looted foodgrains as they did not have cash to purchase it. The police, however, claimed that no such incident took place and it was only a minor scuffle.
Bardua village Sarpanch None Lall alleged that the scuffle took place as Ahirwar was not giving foodgrains and other items since the last four months and the villagers had also complained to the Chief Minister Help Line and local police in this reared, but no action was taken.
He also denied reports of villagers looting the fair price shop. The villagers were not getting ration from the shop since the past four months and yesterday they demanded the owner to give them their due for the full period but he refused leading to a dispute, Assistant Sub Inspector (ADI) Ram Kishore Tiwari told PTI.
The owner asked the villagers to take ration for one month only but they insisted on getting it for the entire four-month period following which they started protesting, he said.
Similarly, violence ensued on Saturday morning as a group of goons attacked IDBI officials with stones and injured several of them.
“Like the last two days, we had a long queue of people waiting to deposit and exchange their money, and we were going according to the procedure. We were allowing 4-6 people at a time to come inside the bank” a bank official said.
But suddenly one person forced himself inside and got into a tussle with the security guard. He then called his father and a group of around 6-7 goons. They started to abuse us and threw really big stones, official added.
“After damaging the equipment, they gave us a threat that they would come back again and ran away. They even gave a death threat to two office boys who tried to stop them. For now, we have locked these office boys in a room inside the bank and we are not letting them out, fearing that they would be attacked” official added.
“We have been told that all these people are seasoned goons and often create trouble in the area. Police have come, and we are going to the hospital for treatment” official said.
Meanwhile, a similar incident was reported in Ranchi, where people pelted stones on SBI branch in Jharkhand at district Palamu.
Despite government’s claim there was no panic, two people died due to suspected heart attacks across the country.
A 73-year-old Mulund resident died of a suspected heart attack Friday morning at a bank where he had gone to exchange demonetised currency. The deceased Vishwanath Vartak, a retired Public Works Department (PWD) employee, was in front of the State Bank of India (SBI) branch in Mulund (east) to exchange Rs 4,000 when he collapsed, Indian Express reported.
Similarly, Vinod Kumar Pandey (68) died while standing in queue out Union Bank, Sagar, Bhopal. The deceased was a retired BSNL official and went to exchange demonetized currency.