China is set to pay a price, however small, for its continued support to Pakistan after the Uri terror attack. Several social media campaigns have been started and many politicians have also urged people not to buy Chinese goods this festive season. However, even as people unite to protest against China, traders may end up taking a hit this Diwali. According to a report in TOI, traders in markets of Old Delhi have said that the campaign to boycott Chinese goods has started hitting Diwali sales.
A Lajpat Rai market trader has been quoted as saying that politicians should think before calling for a ban on these goods. The trader said that India does not have the infrastructure to manufacture these goods and such a boycott would adversely impact Indian traders. Even though they agree with the sentiment behind the boycott, traders fear that with goods worth lakhs being stocked by thousands of them, there would be a huge loss if people do not purchase. Some traders also add that the government should stop importers from buying Chinese goods, instead of people not buying them. Many shopkeepers, especially those in Chawri Bazar, are reported to be lamenting if sales of Chinese products are stopped it would lead to many families losing their source of income. However, there are those who back the calls and have stacked up indigenous products made by local artisans.
As far as Diwali-related products go, from lights, decorative items to statues, Chinese goods have a near monopoly in India. The campaigns that started on social media have been arguing that not only should India boycott China’s goods because of the latter’s support to Pakistan, but also because it would promote the domestic industry. Additionally, with Indians not buying Chinese goods, it would be a blow to China’s economy that thrives on exports.
Meanwhile, the nationalistic sentiment post the Uri attack is running high and some cracker sellers in Punjab’s Ludhiana have taken the decision not to retail Chinese crackers this Diwali. In an unrelated move, the Delhi government has banned Chinese crackers, in wake of the rising pollution levels. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee is reported to have written to the Delhi Police and to the customs department, so that it can be ensured that import of prohibited firecrackers into Delhi is not allowed.