The Indian embassy in Beijing on Tuesday issued a strong advisory cautioning Indian traders not to do business with Yiwu in Zhejiang province,even as the two Indians at the centre of the controversy were put up at a hotel under Chinese police protection.
Sources said the two Indian nationals,Deepak Raheja and Shamsunder Agarwal,were staying in a hotel in Yiwu,and have been given local police protection at the insistence of the Indian consulate in Shanghai. There are armed groups waiting outside the hotel,and the police have assured protection only within the hotel premises.
The ugly turn of events has led the Indian embassy to issue one of the most terse statements in the recent past. This came a day after India lodged a strong protest over the treatment meted out to the businessmen and an official after a court hearing in China.
The advisory said,The Indian traders and businessmen are hereby cautioned not to do business with Yiwu in Zhejiang province. They should be aware that when there are trade disputes with Yiwu,the Indian businessmen/traders can be illegally held under detention and mistreated by Chinese businessmen there. Based on experience,there is no guarantee that legal remedies will be readily available. Furthermore,in case of disputes arising,experience suggests that there is inadequate protection for safety of persons. All people who have business/trade with Yiwu are cautioned against doing business there and all people who do not have business/ trade with Yiwu are requested to be careful that they do not do business with Yiwu. Indian businessmen are cautioned to stay away from Yiwu.
India had conducted business with Yiwu worth about $ 2 billion last year alone.
According to sources,Raheja and Agarwal had been reported missing,and that was brought to the notice of the Indian mission by their families. The Indian consulate got in touch with the provincial Chinese authorities and found out that they had been abducted and illegally detained by the local traders for not paying about $ 900,000.
The consulate put pressure to bring the matter to the notice of the local court. At the court proceedings on December 31,the Indian consulate in Shanghai sent S Balachandran,working as a consul there,and there was heated discussions on the issue. The Indian official is said to have pressed for their bail and assured their production before the court for the next hearing.
When they got out of the court,local traders manhandled the officer. Balachandran,who was without medicines for diabetes,fainted. The Indian mission has taken up the matter with the Chinese authorities.