Ambani’s Reliance Industries seeks government help to stop vandalism of its assets in India

The company's communications infrastructure and sales and service outlets were damaged amid the ongoing farmers’ protests in the country

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Reliance Industries Limited sign board installed on a road divider in the western Indian city of Gandhinagar January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo
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Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries approached an Indian court, seeking an “urgent intervention” from the government to put a stop to vandalism against its assets and personnel in the states of Haryana and Punjab amid the ongoing farmers’ protests.

“The miscreants indulging in vandalism have been instigated and aided by vested interests and our business rivals,” the company alleged in a statement on Monday.

“Taking advantage of the ongoing farmers’ agitation near the national capital, these vested interests have launched an incessant, malicious and motivated vilification campaign against Reliance, which has absolutely no basis in truth.”

The telecom giant's move comes as protestors damaged thousands of Jio's telecom towers in the state of Punjab, spurred by the belief that the new reforms unfairly benefited conglomerates like Reliance.

Indian farmers, mostly from the north Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, are protesting against reforms to three farm laws passed by the Narendra Modi government in September last year.

The latest regulation will allow farmers to sell crops to private firms instead of licensed middlemen at state-controlled markets – a move that farmers fear will lead to increased corporate dominance over the near term.

Although Mr Modi has said these laws will help them earn more cash, farmers say they will lose out on the minimum support prices, currently guaranteed by the government.

“Reliance has nothing whatsoever to do with the three farm laws currently debated in the country, and in no way benefits from them,” it said in the statement.

“Neither Reliance nor any of our subsidiaries has purchased any agricultural land, directly or indirectly, in Punjab/Haryana or anywhere else in India, for the purpose of “corporate” or “contract” farming. We have absolutely no plans to do so.”

The company also said it will insist its suppliers strictly abide by the “Minimum Support Price mechanism or any other mechanism for remunerative price for farm produce, as may be determined and implemented by the government”.