Jio continues to claim that its competitors were behind damage done to the Reliance-owned telco’s infrastructure in the backdrop of the 2020–21 farmer protests, it said in a press release on Monday. The company said it was filing suit in the Punjab & Haryana High Court to punish “miscreants” and deter vandalism. “The miscreants indulging in vandalism have been instigated and aided by vested interests and our business rivals. 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,” the company said in a statement.
Reliance has been blaming its rivals, without revealing any evidence in public view, for interfering with its business in Punjab and Haryana, since at least December. Jios’ competitors denied any involvement, rebuffing Jio’s accusations in sharp terms. Jio added in its statement that it had no plans to enter corporate farming, and that it wouldn’t short-change farmers when dealing with them.
The Cellular Operators Association of India, which represents both Jio and its rivals, made no mention of these accusations, instead focusing on destruction of telecom property: “While we respect people’s right to protest on any issue, sabotaging the telecom network infrastructure and disrupting telecom services as a form of protest by anyone is strongly condemned,” Lt. Gen Dr. SP Kochhar, the industry body’s director-general, said in a statement issued to the press.