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'Amazon bypassing Indian law'

By SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF
July 27, 2021 09:45 IST
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'I approached the ministries for a response, but they did not respond on time, so I had to approach the court.'

IMAGE: Shein was one of the Chinese apps that was banned last year due to data security issues. Photograph: Kind courtesy Amazon
 

Massive outrage against China erupted in the country last year following the killing of 20 Indian Army soldiers by Chinese troops in a violent face-off in Ladakh's Galwan Valley, which soon turned into a campaign to boycott Chinese products.

Following this, the Narendra Damodardas Modi government banned more than a hundred Chinese apps operating in India, citing data privacy concerns and threat to national security.

The prominent Chinese apps banned were TikTok, Alibaba's UC Browser, We Chat, Helo, UC News, Club Factory, Clash of Kings, Likee, Bigo Live and Shein.

Shein is now making a backdoor entry in India through the Amazon Prime Day sale on July 26-27.

This came to light after advocate Ananttika Singh filed a writ petition in the Delhi high court against the re-entry of the app into the Indian market.

"Amazon is trying to bypass the government's policy and therefore I raised the concern," Ananttika Singh tells Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

When did you first notice Shein's re-entry?

I saw an advertisement by Amazon releasing the Shein app.

After seeing that I remembered that Shein was banned in 2020, and a permanent ban came into effect this year.

What did you do after that?

I approached the ministries for a response, but they did not respond on time so I had to approach the courts.

You mean they did not take any action.

We gave them 7-8 days.

They forwarded the matter to the crime branch and after that the issue died down right there.

What did the court say?

The next date of hearing is August 26.

They have issued a notice and as of now they have told respondents to file a reply.

Is it not too late because the Amazon Prime Day sale, which features Shein, is for two days and it ends on July 27?

That is true.

Once the sale ends on July 27, then the matter will become (irrelevant).

However, if Amazon continues to sell Shein products the matter will continue.

It now depends on how the Shein and Amazon partnership proceeds on after the big sale.

Did you send a notice to Amazon?

Yes, I did, but since the matter is sub judice I cannot get into details.

As an Indian citizen, do you feel the country's sovereignty is being challenged by such acts of Amazon?

It was the policy of the government's which needed to be abided with.

Amazon is trying to bypass it and therefore I raised the concern.

Is Shein the only Chinese app available on the Amazon sale?

First, the government banned 59 apps and after that some 118 other apps were banned.

In these one of them was the Shein app.

To my personal knowledge, I don't think there is another app that Amazon is dealing with which was banned in the notification.

Are you disappointed that the next court hearing is on August 26?

I understand the fact that court is extremely burdened.

The judge did what he thought was best.

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SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF / Rediff.com
 
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