Vandalism of Mobile Towers: RIL Moves HC Seeking Action by Govt

Over at least 1,500 mobile towers in Punjab, mostly affiliated to Reliance Jio, were vandalised.

Updated
India
3 min read
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court has sought urgent intervention of government authorities to stop vandalism of mobile towers amid the ongoing farmers’ protests against the new farm laws.
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Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court has sought urgent intervention of government authorities to stop the vandalism of mobile towers amid the ongoing farmers’ protests against the three new farm laws.

At least 1,500 mobile towers in Punjab, mostly affiliated to Reliance Jio, were vandalised over the past few weeks allegedly by farmers protesting the laws, leading to Captain Singh issuing a stern warning and ordering action against the culprits.

“Reliance Industries Limited, through its subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, in a petition mentioned to be filed in Punjab & Haryana High Court today, has sought urgent intervention of government authorities to bring a complete stop to illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants,” the telecom giant said in a statement.

“These acts of violence have endangered the lives of thousands of employees and caused damage and disruption to the vital communications infrastructure. The miscreants indulging in vandalism have been instigated and aided by vested interests and our business rivals,” the company added.

The towers were allegedly vandalised to disrupt mobile and internet network services of Reliance Jio, who farmers perceive to be benefitting from the new farm laws.

The company has alleged that miscreants doing the vandalisism have been instigated by ‘vested interests and business rivals in a vilification campaign against Reliance’.

Reliance has refuted these claims saying it has never purchased grain directly from farmers. The company also asserted that it has no plans of entering contract farming and has not purchased any land to do so.

“It has never entered into long-term procurement contracts to gain unfair advantage over farmers or sought that its suppliers buy from farmers at less than remunerative prices, nor will it ever do so”, said Reliance in a statement.

The company stated that it would support the MSP demand for farm produce, as determined by the government, and claimed they will insist on their suppliers abiding by MSP as well.

“We at Reliance have immense gratitude and the greatest respect for India's kisans, who are the 'anna data' of 1.3 billion Indians,” the company said.

Vandalism Kicks Off Politicking

The vandalism of the towers has also kicked off politicking in Punjab with an exchange of words between Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Governor VP Singh Badnore. Singh slammed Badnore after the latter summoned top officials of the government and the police over vandalism of mobile towers last month.

Singh said that the Governor should have summoned him instead and alleged a propaganda by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the collapse of law and order.

“While the propaganda of the BJP on the collapse of law and order in the state was nothing more than a tactic to divert attention from the farm laws issue and the resultant farmers’ agitation, if the Governor nevertheless had any concerns on the situation, he should have taken up the matter directly with me as custodian of the Home Portfolio,” said a statement from the Chief Minister’s office.

The statememt further said that while the very existence of the farmers is at stake, BJP leaders are busy indulging in petty politics and an unsavoury agenda.

“These damaged towers can be and are being repaired, but what about the lives of the farmers lost in the bitter cold at the Delhi borders, where they continue to fight for their rights amid total apathy from the BJP-led government at the Centre?" asked Amarinder.

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