Ahead of Durga Puja and Diwali celebrations in the state, a senior minister in the Assam government has appealed to the masses to avoid buying Chinese products.
Himanta Biswa Sarma’s statement comes days after the banned militant group United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent (ULFA-I) warned a Hindu group for seeking a boycott of Chinese goods.
“This Durga Puja people should avoid buying products made in China. Instead they should buy lamps, decorative lights and household utensils made in India,” he told journalists here on Monday.
Significantly, the minister’s appeal also follows Beijing’s declaration last Saturday that it has blocked a tributary of the Brahmaputra, to construct a dam for a major hydro-electric project in Tibet. It is not known if blocking the tributary will affect the volume of the Brahmaputra which flows across the length of Assam.
Sarma, who handles finance, health, education portfolios, clarified that it was his personal opinion that Indians should stop buying any product which has ‘Made in China’ marked on them. A former Congressman who joined the BJP ahead of the last assembly elections in Assam earlier this year, Sarma is an influential politician and is widely believed to have played a pivotal role in the BJP’s thumping victory.
Each year between Durga Puja and Diwali, Chinese products including decorative lights and lamps, gift items and firecrackers worth hundreds of crores of rupees are sold across India.
Last month, leaders from the Assam unit of Hindu Yuva Chatra Parishad had appealed to people in the state to stop buying Chinese goods in order to hurt the neighbouring country economically.
Soon after the appeal, ULFA-I issued a statement asking the group and its leaders to stop its campaign seeking boycott of Chinese products. It said consumers have the right to buy goods which are cheap.
“Besides, neighbour China has age-old friendly ties with Assam and provides an alternative to Indian traders who have only profit in mind,” the statement read.