A local traders’ organisation has forced Muslim shopkeepers in Uttarakhand’s Dharchula to down shutters for the past three days after two minor girls were allegedly lured by men from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, PTI reported on Tuesday.

The organisation, named the Dharchula Vyapar Sangh, has cancelled the membership of 91 traders, mostly Muslims, and called for their removal from the town.

The association, which represents over 600 traders of Dharchula, has decided to grant membership only to those from Uttarakhand. “The traders coming from outside are involved in criminal activities that cannot be tolerated in this sensitive border town,” PTI quoted Mahesh Garbiyal, the secretary of the traders’ association, as saying.

The members of the organisation have demanded that the landlords remove such “outsiders”, PTI reported. Dharchula is located 90 kms from the district headquarters at Pithoragarh.

However, the landlords have not accepted the organisation’s demand, according to the local administration.

“We have registered an FIR against elements who forced the shop owners to shut their shops,” PTI quoted Pithoragarh District Magistrate Reena Joshi as saying. “No unlawful activity will be allowed. Traders from outside doing business in the town will be given full protection.”

Two traders from Bareilly, who were arrested in February for allegedly luring two minor girls, were charged under Indian Penal Code sections of 363 (kidnapping), 376 (sexual assault), 354 (use of criminal force to outrage modesty of woman) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, according to Dharchula Station House Officer Parvez Ali.

The minor girls had been rescued.