Multinational consumer brands have come under the radar of the Indian customers for their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts on the Kashmir Solidarity Day observed by Pakistan on February 5.
South Korean multinational automobile manufacturer KIA and American multinational pizza restaurant chain Dominos are facing wrath for their posts on occasion and showing their support for the movement, quoting it as 'people's struggle for freedom'.
The fast-food chain put itself in the boycotting position by supporting the neighbouring countries movement. "The nation is one in support of our beloved Kashmiris, may they live as a sovereign nation soon - Let's come together and stand for Kashmir," the post read, along with an image showcasing the company's logo.
A tweet by the Twitter handle of @KiaCrossroads spoke about the 'freedom of Kashmir' and its people. However, the tweet has now been taken down, according to Times of India.
Tweets and posts favouring the movement were also sent out by Twitter handles of dealers and outlets of the companies, including Hyundai, Suzuki Pakistan and Isuzu Pakistan. However, they were deleted a day later because of the outrage.
The boycott trend has intensified among Indian consumers, who have called for banning these global brands, including those who have issued an apology.
Netizens trended hashtags such as #BoycottDominos, #BoycottKiaMotors, #BoycottKFC, #HyundaiWithTerrorist, #HyundaiMustApologise. Many claimed to have cancelled their orders for the services of these brands. Uninstalled applications of fast food chains as a part of the protest.
Companies Facing Wrath Initially
Hyundai: Automaker Hyundai was the first company to face backlash for its post. The firm's dealer in Pakistan had tweeted on occasion and asserted the country's support for the people of Kashmir. Several Indians took to social media, calling for the firm's boycott and promoting homegrown brands such as Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.
The Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) later issued a statement claiming that the company firmly kept a 'zero-tolerance policy' towards any insensitive comments or remarks disparaging any nation and reiterated its commitment to the Indian market.
KFC: The fast-food restaurant company took to its social media showings its support to the solidarity day commemorated by Pakistan. "You never left our thoughts, and we hope that the coming years bring peace to you. Their cravings for freedom are heartfelt," the Pakistan franchise's post read. Following the backlash, KFC India apologised for the post and asserted the Indian customers' importance.
There has been no response from the brands that have come under fire by the Indian customers.
National Auto Dealers' Body Condemn Posts
Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) condemned the posts and tweets by the global companies. It urged the centre and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturer (SIAM India) to take cognisance of the matter.