Sales of Coke and Pepsi have plummeted in parts of India following the calls for a boycott of US and UK goods by an anti-war forum, the news agency AFP has reported.

The drinks have been hit in the state of Kerala, after an anti-war forum, headed by Thomas Isaac - a member of a communist party - and consisting of more than 250 non-governmental groups, announced plans to convert Kerala into a "Coca Cola and Pepsi free zone" by April 13.

Members of the forum have apparently been going shop-to-shop persuading owners against stocking the goods as well as visiting homes telling consumers not to buy them.
Distributors of Coca Cola and Pepsi said sales had dropped by about 50% since the call was made two weeks ago.

AFP reported that shopkeepers were afraid of a backlash if they sold the goods and one distributor was quoted as saying, "the campaign against these products by leftist organisations is very aggressive and a lot of customers are rejecting them."

Sunil Gupta, vice president of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages was quoted as saying: "We have one million retail suppliers of our products here. In the event of a boycott, it is the Indian economy that will be hit," Sunil Gupta, vice president of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages told AFP by phone from New Delhi.