By Gaurav Sharma, New Delhi, Aug 14 IANS | 4 months ago

Gaza is impacting the national capital in more ways than one. Revlon, Loreal, Garnier and other products with US brand names, which till a month ago had quite good sales, are off the shelves of Mohammad Iqbal's store in Delhi's old quarters.

Iqbal says he can't afford to incur losses, but his conscience does not allow him to make profits from the sale of products linked to the US - a country he says is "abetting Israel" in wiping out Palestinians in the Gaza strip.

In the Matia Mahal area of the walled city, many shopkeepers and residents have boycotted selling and buying US-linked products to show solidarity with Gaza, where about 2,000 people have been killed in the month-long conflict with Israel.

"I have stopped ordering US-linked cosmetics since I cannot feed the (US) economy which helps Israelis in killing innocents in Gaza," Iqbal, 51, told IANS.

The trigger for the latest Israel-Hamas clash in Gaza was the alleged abduction and murder of three Israelis that were blamed on Hamas, with thousands of its members being rounded up.

The US is a long time ally of Israel, the Jewish state carved out of Palestine in 1948. It has maintained its support for Israel, which Hamas refuses to recognise.

Then, in the Jama Masjid area, Jayanti, a soft drink manufactured in Alwar in Rajasthan, is providing tough competition to global beverage giants from the US like Coca Cola and Pepsi.

Many locals told IANS that a few shopkeepers had rented out their shops to others since their businesses were heavily dependent on US-linked products but were no longer doing so. This could not be independently confirmed.

Nadeem, 31, owner of a small mobile shop in one of the narrow lanes, has stopped Nokia mobile phones since its parent Finnish company has been taken over by the US-based Microsoft.

Besides, Nescafe and Nestle have very few takers in the area, which is just a stone's throw from the 17th century Jama Masjid.

It was during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in July that the local traders' association decided to boycott US- linked products. Several pamphlets and leaflets were distributed among the shopkeepers and residents, appealing to them to stop selling and buying US-linked products.

"Fasting during Ramadan days is rigorous. And it was during Ramadan that Israel began targeting hapless Palestinians in Gaza," said M.A. Khan, owner of a grocery shop.

"The rockets fired by Hamas are like fireworks," added Khan.

Locals in this area said this was not the first time when US-linked goods were opposed.

"When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, then also we boycotted such products," Shahid, a resident of the area, said.

(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at gaurav.s@ians.in)

(Posted on 14-08-2014)

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