Chennai shops go ‘black’ to protest FDI
By Express News Service - CHENNAI
26th September 2012 08:58 AM
Crackers were burst and a pandal was erected at the Veerasamy Pillai Street near the Egmore Police Station on Tuesday, but the prevailing mood was anything but celebratory. That emotions ran high at the event — a black flag protest to condemn the Centre’s decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in the retail sector — would be an understatement, if the speeches delivered there were an indication.
Black flags were distributed to petty shops that lined the adjoining roads. According to the organisers, the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu (Confederation of Tamil Nadu Traders’ Association), as many as five lakh small and large shops across the state will display black flags on their premises for the next two days. Speakers at the event, meanwhile, lashed out at the Centre, claiming its move would spell doom to the millions of farmers and traders involved.
“The Centre is seemingly in a clandestine deal with the capitalists of the West; it would not hesitate to sell our nation if it stands to benefit. They don’t care even if we’re alive or not,” said head of the confederation, A M Vikiramaraja. He added that retail giants like Walmart, with their deep pockets, would undersell to drive all native retailers out of business, before exerting their monopoly over the Indian market.
Vikiramaraja added that he was in close contact with a government official in Delhi, who had promised to take a sympathetic view of their demands. He said that over the next two days, representatives of the retailers association would deliberate in New Delhi. Details over their next course of action would emerge on October 2.
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