‘It is every Indian’s duty’: VHP and Bajrang Dal activists burn Chinese goods in Bengaluru
Despite the standoff at Doklam ending peacefully, with both India and China agreeing to disengage their border personnel, members of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad carried out an anti-China protest in Bengaluru on Friday morning.
Close to 90 Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad members gathered at Bengaluru’s Town Hall, holding placards and raising slogans of ‘Vande Mataram’. The protesters also burned goods produced in China, including one unboxed mobile phone.
“We burnt 50-60 toys, and one new mobile set, among other things,” said Sashikant, one of the leaders present on Friday’s protest.
“Very soon, we will replace all Chinese goods. We have instructed all karyakartas to replace their Chinese handsets. Not only the members of the BJP, VHP or the Bajrang Dal, if you are Indian it is your duty to boycott Chinese goods,” Sashikant added.
Sashikant added that he would soon be replacing his own mobile phone, which is of Chinese make.
Claiming Friday’s protest to be a success, Sashikant said, “We have got very good response”
The BJP leadership in Karnataka had earlier proposed throwing Chinese goods in the trash or burning them as a ‘swadeshi’ response to the Doklam standoff in the first week of August.
This is not the first time that the call for a boycott on Chinese goods has been raised.
A previous boycott call in 2016 – over the Chinese refusal to identify Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist at the UN – was a failure, with Indian e-commerce platforms selling Chinese-manufactured smartphones in record numbers.
Experts note that the boycotts won’t help the massive trade deficit India has with its neighbour, given Chinese exports to India only account for 2% of its total exports. Rather, they say, it will only harm Indian businesses and employees engaged in selling these Chinese products.
Apart from the obvious Chinese dominance in the telecom and electronics market, India is heavily dependent on Chinese raw goods for its pharmaceutical industry, including for making life-saving medicines. In total, a little over 10% of India’s imports are from China, which is the highest from a single country.
Other than these, India is dependent on Chinese products for its agricultural needs such as tractor engines and pumps and fertilisers, with an annual bill amounting close to $12 million.