War crimes protests block some Indian participation at Colombo textile fairView(s):
By Sunimalee Dias
An Indian Tamil political organisation protesting against alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka has stopped at least four Tamil Nadu fabric manufacturers from participating at a Colombo exhibition that opened on Thursday.
The fourth TEXTECH Sri Lanka 2012 International Expo held at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC) from February 28 – March 2 is an international exhibition on textile apparel technology and machinery organised by the multinational exhibition organiser CEMS-Global USA partner CEMS- Lanka.
Indian High Commission Counsellor (Economic and Commercial) Manish, when asked by the Business Times at the event on the non-participation of some Indian fabric manufacturers said, “that’s their problem.” He noted that Indian companies have a strong economic relation in this sector with the Sri Lankan buyers. At least two stalls Chennai Textiles and K.G. Denim Ltd were vacant at the exhibition that saw participants from India and China. Indian media reports stated that protests in Tamil Nadu outside the shops of those proposed to participate at the Colombo exhibition came to a halt once the owners informed of their withdrawal from the event.
The protests were said to be organised by Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kashagam (TPDK), a political organisation in South India. It was reported that once the four textile firms from Coimbatore and Chennai announced their withdrawal from participating at the exhibition the agitation had stopped.Reports also indicated that the reason for these protests arose out of the Tamil outfits that were opposed to visitors from Sri Lanka to India or any tie-up between the two countries in terms of sharing of expertise and imparting training due to Colombo’s alleged “war crimes and genocide.”
Sri Lanka imported US$485 million worth of textile and clothing from India alone in 2012, Textile Productivity Council official Shailesh Martis told the Business Times.
He noted that there was a lot of potential for fabric manufacturers in India to do business with Colombo clothing manufacturers.
Business was seen to grow between 8-10% compared to 2011, Mr. Martis said adding that at present there were 18-20 Indian companies participating at the exhibition this year.
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