RIL calls for end to "illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants"

RIL calls for end to "illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants"


Reliance Industries Limited has called on the Indian government to intervene and end what it has described as "illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants" in Punjab and Haryana.

The call was made as protests continued against three new farm laws that are being debated as part of India's controversial agricultural reforms.

In a statement dated 4 January, RIL denied all claims that it is involved with, or will benefit from, the country's controversial agricultural reforms.

It explicitly refuted several claims, including that it would move into corporate or contract farming, purchase agricultural land, buy grain direct from farmers, or enter into long-term procurement contracts "to gain unfair advantage over farmers".

It continued to say the company supported the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism for produce, and highlighted that its e-commerce business and 4G network have benefited both farmers and the Indian public during the Covid-19 crisis.

RIL's statement read: "These acts of violence have endangered the lives of thousands of its employees and caused damage and disruption to the vital communications infrastructure, sales and service outlets run by its subsidiaries in the two states.

"The miscreants indulging in vandalism have been instigated and aided by vested interests and our business rivals. Taking advantage of the ongoing farmers’ agitation near the national capital, these vested interests have launched an incessant, malicious and motivated vilification campaign against Reliance, which has absolutely no basis in truth."

The company claimed the "sole nefarious purpose of linking the name of Reliance to these laws" was reputational harm. A petition has now been filed with the Honourable Punjab and Haryana High Court to seek government assistance in the matter.

The problems started last month when rumours began to circulate that Reliance would benefit financially from India's new farm laws. Many joined protests against the agricultural reforms and tensions quickly escalated.

In a letter dated 10 December, RIL told national regulator TRAI that it had received a "large number" of port out requests from customers. The letter, seen by Reuters, claimed the cancellation requests were filed after Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea "created an impression" that Jio would benefit from the country's agricultural reforms.

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