Chaos in India: in the midst of elections, tanners call out a “conspiracy” against them

Gli espositori indiani a Riva del garda spiegano cosa sta succedendo alle concerie in Uttar Pradesh

While the elections take place (they started April 11th and will be over on May 19th) and the candidates’ attention seems to reside elsewhere, Uttar Pradesh’s tanners fear a boycott. On the pages of online daily newspaper, the president of Uttar Pradesh Leather Industry Association, Taj Alam, explains he believes there is a “conspiracy” behind the forced shutdown imposed by the government to tanneries in the region. Alam believes that Yogi Adityanath, prime minister of Uttar Pradesh and exponent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (the major political party which has historically reflected Hindus’ nationalistic positions), has allegedly stated to the association’s representatives that “he has no issue against the activity of tanneries”, but that “government officials are still to give the go-ahead to re-start activities”. According to some local operators, as a matter of fact, the delays in the orders are allegedly tied to conflicts of religious origins. The government’s block to activities was imposed in November 2018 to allow for the purification of the Ganges river in sight of Kumbh Mela, the Hindu mass pilgrimage in which the believers immerge themselves into the sacred river. “The majority of tanneries’ owners are Muslim – explains the entrepreneur Arshi Khan to -, but a large part of the Hindu population is tied to this industry (meaning that many employees are Hindu) and they are siffering because of the shutdown”. As a consequence, individual citizens and representatives of the segment’s associations are thinking of boycotting the elections for the renewal of Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament. “Kanpur’s tanners have voted for development regardless of their ideologies – comments Firoz Ahmad, 49-year-old owner of a company, to -, but remained disappointed by the nationalist government”.


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