India has summoned China’s deputy chief of mission in New Delhi to lodge its protest over the courtroom manhandling of a diabetic Indian diplomat S Balachandran in Yiwu which resulted in his fainting:
Beijing’s deputy chief of mission in New Delhi, Zhang Yue, was called to the Indian foreign ministry that night itself, a government official said.
This row comes a month after a spat between China and India over a speech by Tibet’s spiritual leader Dalai Lama at an event in New Delhi. An upset Beijing had put off border talks.
In Beijing, Indian embassy spokesman Vinayak Chavan reportedly told a news agency that Balachandran was not badly hurt. “It was not that serious, but there was some manhandling,” Chavan said.
The two Indians had been held hostage by the local traders for two weeks for non-payment of dues by their company, whose owner had allegedly fled the country. Balachandran, 46, tried to negotiate for their release for over five hours at a court in Yiwu, a big trading centre for a host of commodities.
He was assaulted when the two Indians, being held captive for over fortnight, clung on to him to leave the surcharged place. The incident took place in the court and in the presence of police and the judge. A high drama ensued as the crowd prevented the two from going along with him demanding that they pay millions of Yuan owed to them for commodities purchased from them.
Meanwhile, the Indian embassy has warned Indian traders to stay off Yiwu for now. In a statement posted on its website, it said:
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.
Ananth Krishnan of The Hindu reports that the two Indian traders at the centre of the dispute are now fearing for their lives:
The two traders, who are employees of a trading company accused of owing their Chinese suppliers a reported 10 million Yuan ($ 1.58 million), are now holed up in a hotel in Yiwu under police protection following a harrowing two weeks during which they said they were “kidnapped” and assaulted by enraged Chinese traders.
“We are fearing for our lives. If I step out of this hotel, there is a crazy mob waiting at the gates that wants to kill us,” Deepak Raheja from Hyderabad told The Hindu in a telephone interview, speaking from his hotel room where he is in hiding along with Shyamsunder Agrewal.
“All we want is to be taken to the Shanghai consulate and to have police protection,” Indian trader Deepak Raheja said. Mr. Raheja was speaking on the telephone from his hotel room where he is in hiding along with Shyamsunder Agrewal.
He said both of them were “only employees,” of company owner, who Mr. Raheja said was from Yemen, and is in hiding. Mr. Raheja, from Hyderabad, said he had been in China for less than 4 months.
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