MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian shopkeepers and merchants affiliated to an area foyer group held scattered sit-in protests throughout the nation on Monday in opposition to Walmart Inc’s (WMT.N) proposed $16 billion acquisition of e-commerce agency Flipkart.

The Confederation of All India Merchants (CAIT) had hoped to assemble a million protesters at numerous cities within the nation to voice opposition to the deal, however the numbers had been far fewer, witnesses.

“That is the primary section of our protest. And if the federal government doesn’t hear, we are going to determine our future plan of action at our nationwide conference in Delhi later this month,” Praveen Khandelwal, the CAIT secretary basic advised Reuters.

The group says the U.S. retail large’s buyout of Bengaluru-based Flipkart will create a monopoly within the retail market and drive mom-and-pop shops out of enterprise. India at present permits 100 % overseas direct funding in e-commerce companies that function on a web-based marketplace-based mannequin.

The sit-in in Delhi, the place CAIT relies, attracted nearly 50 merchants and shopkeepers by midday, in response to a Reuters witness. Attendance in different cities was additionally sparse.

Satinder Wadhwa, a watch vendor who attended the Delhi demonstration, stated a cash-rich Flipkart might be a significant menace to small companies like his personal, which had been already struggling as a result of a ban on high-value forex notes in Dec. 2016 in addition to a nationwide gross sales tax that was launched a 12 months in the past.

FILE PHOTO: A Widespread myna sits subsequent to the emblem of India’s e-commerce agency Flipkart put in on the corporate’s workplace in Bengaluru, India April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa/File Picture

In Guwahati, one of many major cities within the northeastern Assam state, about 300 merchants gathered to protest in opposition to the Walmart-Flipkart deal, stated Rupam Goswami, vice chairman of CAIT. Additionally they demanded simplification of the nationwide gross sales tax, he added.

Small sit-in protests had been additionally held in numerous districts of India’s jap West Bengal state.

The CAIT in an announcement, nonetheless, maintained that one million merchants had participated within the demonstrations.

Bentonville, Arkansas-headquartered Walmart introduced in Might that it was buying roughly 77 % of Flipkart, a deal that now awaits the approval of India’s anti-trust regulator.

A number of sources and legal professionals near the deal have beforehand advised Reuters that whereas the Competitors Fee of India will think about all arguments, the CAIT didn’t pose a problem to the acquisition.

Walmart, which at present runs 21 cash-and-carry shops in India, stated on Monday it had been supporting native manufacturing in India by sourcing from small and medium suppliers, farmers and companies run by girls.

“Our partnership with Flipkart will present 1000’s of native suppliers and producers entry to shoppers by mannequin,” Rajneesh Kumar, senior vice chairman, Walmart India, stated in an announcement.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal and Sai Sachin Ravikumar; Further reporting by Subrata Nag Choudhury; Modifying by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Louise Heavens