George Fernandes supports
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George Fernandes supports petty vendors fight against retail chains
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George Fernandes supports petty vendors fight against retail chains

Former Defence Minister and the convenor of the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), George Fernandes today condemned the alleged police action on street vendors, who had ransacked three outlets of Reliance fresh outlets here on Saturday.

Ranchi, May 14 : Former Defence Minister and the convenor of the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), George Fernandes today condemned the alleged police action on street vendors, who had ransacked three outlets of Reliance fresh outlets here on Saturday.

Expressing solidarity with the street vendors, Fernandes criticized the alleged police action in which around 12 vendors and customers were injured.

He also visited the stores that were attacked and later met the 17 vendors detained by the police.

"I was watching the incident on television. Police were physically assaulting women, pushing them down, kicking them. Men were being beaten up the same way," he told reporters.

Fernandes warned against conflicts between small traders and farmers with big industrial houses.

"This is not a small matter. It looks like what's happening in West Bengal will spread to the rest of the country," he said.

It was one of the most serious cases of unrest linked to the entrance of large, glitzy retail chains into India's fragmented 200 billion dollars food and grocery sector, which small shop owners see as a threat to their customers.

Reliance Retail Ltd., a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, is investing 5.6 billion dollars in hundreds of stores. Officials of the firm were not immediately available for comment.

Since launching its retail operations last year, Reliance has more than 90 fresh vegetable and food stores. It expects to start opening hypermarkets in the next few months.

ANI

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