A magazine associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh has called e-commerce major Amazon “East India Company 2.0”, PTI reported.
The article criticising Amazon is the cover story of the upcoming edition of RSS-affiliated magazine Panchjanya, out on October 3. On Twitter, Panchjanya Editor Hitesh Shankar shared an image of the cover story featuring Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.
Amazon later issued a statement claiming the company has had a “positive impact on small businesses” in India, NDTV reported.
“During the [coronavirus] pandemic, three lakh new sellers joined us... of which 75,000 were local neighbourhood shops from 450+ cities [selling] furniture, stationery, consumer electronics, beauty products, mobile phones, garments, medical products...” the statement said.
The statement added that more than 70,000 Indian businesses were exporting their products by using Amazon as a platform.
This came weeks after the same magazine had criticised Infosys, a move that the RSS had distanced itself from.
The magazine has referred to allegations that legal representatives of Amazon bribed Indian government officials. “What did it [the company] do wrong it needed to bribe,” the article said. “Why do people consider this company a threat to indigenous entrepreneurship, economic freedom and culture?”
A whistleblower had alleged that the legal fee Amazon had paid to a counsel for the firm was channeled to bribe government officials, The Morning Context reported last week. A spokesperson for Amazon said that the e-commerce company has “zero tolerance” for corruption and will fully investigate all the charges.
Accusing Amazon of establishing many proxy entities, the Panchjanya article claimed that “there are reports that it has distributed crores in bribes for policies in its favour”.
The article said that Amazon wanted to establish its monopoly in the Indian market, PTI reported. “For doing so, it has started taking initiatives for seizing the economic, political and personal freedom of the Indian citizens,” it alleged.
The article also targeted Amazon’s video platform, Prime Video, claiming it has been releasing movies and television series that are against the Indian culture. “People had alleged that Prime Videos is regularly airing such shows in which Hindu deities are made fun of and family values are assaulted,” it says, according to The Indian Express.
Earlier this month, Panchjanya had published another story that had suggested that information technology company Infosys was part of an “anti-national conspiracy”. But the RSS had sought to distance itself from the article.
The Infosys article was published as a cover story in the magazine’s September 5 edition. It had claimed that social media users have alleged that the glitches in the income tax portal developed by Infosys were intentionally not being fixed by the software major in order to “destabilise India’s economy”.
Reacting to this, RSS spokesperson Sunil Ambekar had said that Panchjanya was not a “mouthpiece” of the organisation. However, Shankar had said that the magazine “stands firm” with its article.