December 11, 2016

India: Pro-Hindutva Activists vandalise Pakistan stalls at Punjab International Trade Expo held in Amritsar

The Indian Express - December 11, 2016

Members of VHP, Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal remove Pakistani flags from shops selling products made there.
Written by KAMALDEEP SINGH BRAR | Amritsar
pakistani-stalls-759 Members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad demand removal of Pakistani flag from a stall at the Punjab International Trade Expo in Amritsar on Saturday. Rana Simranjit Singh

Activists from pro-Hindutva outfits Saturday barged into venue of PITEX (Punjab International Trade Expo) here and removed the pictures of Pakistani flags from the shops selling products manufactured in Pakistan even as the police watched. SAARC countries have been participating in this international festival.

Pakistan’s participation has already been the lowest at PITEX in the last 10 years. There have been few stalls selling Pakistani products. A day earlier, Shiv Sena members had visited the PITEX office and warned against the presence of Pakistan traders.

On Saturday, activists of Vishav Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena entered the venue of PITEX in the afternoon and started removing the flags and signboards from the shops belonging to Pakistan.

Police and security were mute spectators. Fifty-four exhibitors from Pakistan had got visas to participate in the PITEX. None of them, however, came citing demonetisation blues.

A few stalls of Pakistan were booked by an Indian promoter which are manned by Indians. The attackers targeted these stalls.

“We had warned them to remove flags themselves. But they didn’t. So we were forced to remove these flags and sign boards. We have also made an appeal to people to not buy Pakistan-made products. Pakistan is encouraging terrorism in India and we should stand by the Army instead of Pakistani traders,” said, Sanjay Suri, a local Shiv Sena leader. They also demanded that Pakistan traders should not be given visas.

Parveen Rathee, Regional Director, PHDCCI in Chandigarh, said, “We have informed police about today’s episode. Officers had come and reviewed the security arrangements. We have been assured that the security will be strengthened to avoid any such incident in future.”

ACP (north Amritsar) Bal Krishan said, “We have received a complaint from the PITEX organisers. We will take appropriate action. Nobody will be allowed to create any trouble in this trade show.”