Union Minister asks to ban Chinese food, faces backlash

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Amid the growing tensions between India and China, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale has called for a ban on hotels and restaurants selling Chinese food. “Restaurants selling Chinese food should be banned. I appeal to people to boycott Chinese food,” the minister was quoted as saying by a news agency.

Days after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent face-off between India and China in Galwan Valley in Ladakh, social media has been flooded with posts, seeking a ban on Chinese food and products. But restaurateurs feel that the demand for a ban on Chinese food might harm their businesses more at a time when they are still thinking of ways for survival in the post-pandemic phase.

Reacting to minister Athawale’s statement, Anurag Katriar, president, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), wrote on Twitter, “Ridiculous statement!! Chinese food in India is made by Indians working in Indian companies with Indian shareholders. It’s also consumed by Indians. This is called ‘one for the gallery’!”

Speaking to us minutes after he tweeted, Anurag said, “As proud citizens of this country, even we don’t want that Chinese interests should be catered to. But at such a time when our businesses are already suffering, a statement like this is neither going to help the situation at the warfront, nor our businesses. I have been saying that the India-China clash during the pandemic requires a peaceful and intelligent solution. Such statements will only hamper our local businesses.”

Restaurateurs say that though they are yet to see any impact of the ‘boycott Chinese restaurants’ demand on delivery of orders, they feel that in future, “it will definitely not be anything positive.” “Some people just go by what is trending and do not understand that Chinese food in Indian restaurants is prepared by Indians, they use Indian produce. Banning Chinese food seems to be illogical,” says a Delhi-based restaurateur on the condition of anonymity.

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