Release those arrested for attacking Reliance: Jharkhand vendors


Ranchi : Vegetable vendors of Jharkhand have demanded a high-level probe into the vandalising of Reliance Fresh outlets two weeks back and release of the people arrested during the attack.

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The vendors protesting against Reliance retail outlets – whose arrival had hurt their business – had turned violent and attacked three newly opened stores in Ranchi damaging property worth millions. Police had arrested 17 people and baton-charged the mobs injuring many.

They demonstrated in front of the deputy commissioner's office here Saturday.

"A high-level probe should be instituted to find out the truth about the incident. We also demand release of the vendors arrested by police. How come police remained mute spectators when two outlets were attacked," Nagendra Mahto, a member of the Vegetable Sellers' Association (VSA), asked Sunday.

Suresh Sahu, another member of the association, said: "In a democratic set up everyone has a right to protest but there is a move to suppress our voice".

"We are caught between police and economic loss. For us it is a question of survival with the arrival of Reliance in vegetable business," he said.

The vendors are also unhappy with the state government.

"The state government has become a puppet in the hands of capitalists. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government boasted of working for the poor but it is no way different from the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government," said Kunti Devi, a vegetable vendor.

"The previous NDA government signed agreements with big companies and this government is helping big companies to sell vegetables to push us to starvation," she said.

The vendors have also got support from former defence minister George Fernandes who came to Ranchi to express solidarity with them.