Lucknow, August 22: About a hundred small businessmen, led by the president of Uttar Pradesh Udyog Vyapar Mandal and Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha member Banwari Lal Kanchal, went on a rampage at two Reliance Fresh retail outlets of the city on Wednesday, damaging property and items kept for sale. The police used lathis to disperse the mob at the Jankipuram store and arrested Kanchal and three of his supporters.
Reliance Fresh launched its operations in the city on Wednesday, with the opening of nine outlets. Trouble started around 11 am in Alambagh when the mob, led by Kanchal, reached the outlet and started throwing around products. The staff pulled down shutters, but the mob kept pelting stones and damaged a few shopping trolleys.
The police reached the spot after a while and dispersed the mob. But Kanchal and his supporters were unfazed. From there, they marched to the Jankipuram outlet around 5 pm where another bout of hooliganism followed. They broke window panes and furniture, and smashed items kept in the store. However, the police was quick to respond this time and resorted to lathi charge to disperse the crowd. "We also arrested Kanchal and three of his supporters and an FIR was lodged", said Rajeshwar Singh, Circle Officer, Maha Nagar. One more case was lodged against Kanchal at the Gudumba police station.
A senior Reliance official said the attacks were pre-planned. "They don't want is to provide better and cheaper products to the residents of Lucknow. We are also paying better prices to farmers. The mob not only destroyed property but also misbehaved with women, journalists and the police," he said. Incidents of rowdiness were also reported at a couple of RPG retail outlets and in an outlet of Spencers Daily. A mob raised slogans against "mall culture" outside a retail outlet in Rajendra Nagar. On its way to Jankipuram, the mob also stopped at the Spencer's Badshah Nagar outlet.
FB supporters ransack Reliance outlet In Kolkata
Kolkata, August 18: Forward Bloc supporters today ransacked one of the Reliance Retail outlets coming up in the city. The incident took place around 4.30 pm at an outlet situated at the Nanda Mullick Lane in Girish Park Police Station area. Preparations were on at the store for the inauguration.
The agitators themselves intimated the police about their protest at the store.
"Around 60 FB supporters ransacked the store. Initially, they were shouting slogans but suddenly started pelting stones and bricks. They also attacked some parked cars near the store. We have booked a case," said Ajay Ranade, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central). However, no arrests had been made till last reports came in.
"We are opposed to the state government's decision allowing big companies like Reliance to enter the retail sector. This is just a small instance of our protest. If the government does not stop, we will organise mass agitations. If the retail outlets come up, hundreds of small traders and businessmen will lose their livelihood," said FB leader Hafiz Alam Sairani.
According to police, FB supporters gathered for a rally around 4.30 pm chanting anti-government and anti-Reliance slogans.
Around 40 employees were inside the store at the time. In the agitation, the showroom glass was shattered and windowpanes were damaged. The supporters also tried to enter the building but employees called the police. The agitators fled when a huge contingent of policemen rushed to the spot.
Meanwhile, the CPI(M) lambasted its Front partner, raising questions regarding the motive behind organising agitations only against Reliance stores.
"I do not understand what they are trying to do and why? Why they are not protesting against Pantaloons, or other companies who have already set up outlets in the city. They are only targeting Reliance. Do they have a problem with the name 'Reliance' or with the subject of retail stores," said Benoy Konar, CPI(M) State Secretariat member.