VHP protests against Pakistan exhibition

Activists of Vishva Hindu Parishad, Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal attempted to disrupt a lifestyle exhibition featuring exhibitors from Pakistan in central Delhi’s Pragati Maidan on Thursday.

Close to 60 protesters were detained by police when they tried to gain entry from gate number 7 of the Pragati Maidan complex.

Police said around 10-15 activists managed to enter hall number 14, where the exhibition was taking place. Police teams present at the spot managed to remove the activists from the hall.  The four-day event ‘Alishan Pakistan’ was inaugurated on Thursday by members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

When the opening ceremony was about to take place, around 10-15 members of the Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena entered and raised slogans. They demanded that the exhibition be closed immediately.

“By allowing such exhibition, glorifying Pakistan and its products, the sentiments of our citizens have hurt. If this exhibition is not stopped immediately, we will appeal to boycott all Pakistani products and advise all business community to keep distance from Pakistani product in the national interest,” VHP-Delhi Secretary General Ram Krishna Srivastava said in a statement.

Though police escorted the protesters, the incident left some of the younger participants worried for their safety. “The purpose of joint exhibitions is to improve trade relations between the two countries. The people on both sides should realise that this only benefits them,” said Sana Brani, 20, an entrepreneur from Karachi representing her family business of women footwear.

Anticipating the possibility of an untoward incident, police had stepped up security cover and heavy deployment of police was seen outside Pragati Maidan. Police said two companies of policemen and two sections of women constables were deployed. Barricades were also placed. The exhibition will be on till September 14 at hall number 14 and 18 of Pragati Maidan.

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