As BJP and NDA are heading towards a consecutive five-year term, we may end up hearing such news, as below, more often perhaps!
Akshay Lahoti, an HDFC Life employee, wrote a Facebook post where he called for a “Hindu referendum”, adding that if majority of Hindus voted against Muslim citizenship, Muslims should “accept the mandate and move to Pakistan and Bangladesh”, which, according to Akshay, were created for them in the first place.
“In 1947, there was no Brexit style referendum to decide if Muslims should be allowed to stay in India. A bunch of elitists decided that India should be a secular country and forced their idea of India on the rest of the country.
Given a choice, I am extremely confident that an overwhelming majority of Hindus would vote against Muslims being given Indian citizenship. Why don’t we finish the unfinished business of partition once and for all by taking a Hindu referendum and decide on the idea of India?”
As expected, Akshay’s post, which called for division and hate, went viral and screenshots of the same started doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter.
Uzair Hasan Rizvi, a journalist with news agency AFP tagged HDFC’s customer care handle on Twitter to register his protest. In the tweet, he said,
“Hello @HDFCBank_Cares this person Akshay Lahoti claims to work for @HDFCLIFE wants a referendum on religion. His post is both Islamophobic & Xenophobic. His views reflect hatred, as a Muslim, I will have to think twice before using ur services. Ppl like him will be biased to me.”
His views reflect hatred, as a Muslim, I will have to think twice before using ur services. Ppl like him will be biased to me pic.twitter.com/GTD1pv97iR
— Uzair Hasan Rizvi (@RizviUzair) May 21, 2019
“A post has been brought to our attention on social media. The person in question is an employee of our group company
@HDFCLIFE. We’ve brought it to their notice for appropriate action.
As an organization, and as a group, we strongly condemn such divisive and insensitive comments.”
A post has been brought to our attention on social media. The person in question is an employee of our group company @HDFCLIFE. We’ve brought it to their notice for appropriate action. As an organization, and as a group, we strongly condemn such divisive and insensitive comments.
— HDFC Bank (@HDFCBank_Cares) May 21, 2019
….And as the pattern has been prevailing under the Modi government in India, in an online mob attack, right-wing trolls took on the prestigious HDFC group running a hashtag #BoycottHDFC:
I have an active account at HDFC. I hold a forex card from HDFC and do a lot of transaction with HDFC. In case you take any action against this employee just because he shared his views on FB, I will make sure that I switch to ICICI.@iashutosh23 @ThePlacardGuy
— Kshitij Mohan (@MohanKshitij) May 22, 2019
I’ve saving, credit card, home loan and also few SIP’s with HDFC, if any action taken against Akshay, be careful will close close all my accounts and switch to other bank.#BoycottHDFC
— Hanji_Bolo (@hanji_bolo) May 22, 2019
— Chowkidar 🍥 (@HangmanSays) May 22, 2019
Don’t have an account myself. But my car insurance was yours, it’s being shifted.
Am getting on the phone now and checking up with every relative, close friends and family friends. Message is clear, it’s time to boycott HDFC and all its divisions.
— Temples of India – my love (@pavpil) May 22, 2019
And we strongly condemn your bigoted tweet ..
You run on Hindu money and threatening to take action against Akshay on complaint of a hinduphobe @RizviUzair ? Who did not even spare Pulwama martyrs from his hate?
And that too when Akshay was merely puttiny his personal FOE down?
— Ritu (सत्यसाधक)🇮🇳 (@RituRathaur) May 22, 2019
What divisive comments?? Freedom of expression is not a one way route. If any action is taken. I will return my credit card of HDFC as a mark of protest.
— Venkat Sudheendra (@venzq) May 22, 2019
This is not the first time a mass online Boycott process has been orchestrated by the BJP and Hindutva trolls.
2016 – #BoycottSnapdeal
Bollywood actor Aamir Khan’s comments on perceived intolerance in the country made him and the e-commerce giant target of severe criticism. Following the remarks, many netizens vented their frustration on social networks and even deleted Snapdeal’s app to show protest against the company.
Snapdeal decided not to renew its contract with Aamir Khan and also distanced itself from the remark, saying the comments made by the actor were “in his personal capacity” and it was in no way connected with them.
April 2019 – #BoycottVistara
Air Vistara faced massive backlash on Twitter, with ‘Boycott Vistara’ trending online, after the official Twitter account of the airline posted a photo with Major General GD Bakshi and then deleted it.
Among the most influential Twitter users who helped #BoycottVistara trend, was BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, whose claim to fame was slapping Activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan in 2011. Bagga wrote,
“. @airvistara deleted Honourable @adgpi Officer General GD Bakshi Pic after Anti Army Gang Pressure. I will never travel on Air Vistara till thn they tweet Pic again & apologies , RT if you will #BoycottVistara.”
. @airvistara deleted Honourable @adgpi Officer General GD Bakshi Pic after Anti Army Gang Pressure. I will never travel on Air Vistara till thn they tweet Pic again & apologies , RT if you will #BoycottVistara pic.twitter.com/rbyAvgEIDn
— Chowkidar Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) April 21, 2019
A particular leader may enjoy popularity, but the precedents set using social media as a mass tool attack reputed brands, is surely going to make us an uncivilized society soon.