Global Chains Forced To Close In Gujarat Over Kashmir Tweet

During the protest over social media messages, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Domino's Pizza, Pizza Hut, and KFC all closed their doors.

Global Chains Forced To Close In Gujarat Over Kashmir Tweet
Photo by Reuters

Hardline Hindu organisations in the Indian state of Gujarat have forced the closure of stores owned by several multinational corporations after their Pakistan-based subsidiaries posted statements on social media in favour of Kashmir. The messages were posted last week by Pakistani subsidiaries of companies such as Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Domino's Pizza, Yum Brand Inc's Pizza Hut, and KFC, all of which have operations in India. The companies used social media to post messages on February 5 in honour of Pakistan's Kashmir Solidarity Day, which is marked every year to honour the sacrifices of Kashmiris fighting for self-determination, generating outrage among Indian social media users.

"These companies cannot do business in India while also supporting Pakistan's position on Kashmir," VHP national treasurer Dinesh Navadiya told the Reuters news agency during a rally in Surat.

Photo by The Quint

The uproar has highlighted the risks faced by businesses working in India and its archrival Pakistan, both of which control sections of Kashmir but both claim full ownership of the Himalayan region. In 1990, an armed insurgency against New Delhi's government in India-controlled Kashmir erupted, which India claims is supported by Pakistan. Pakistan denies the charge, claiming that it solely provides diplomatic and moral support to the people of Kashmir.

"We peacefully protested against these companies for their Pakistani affiliates' pro-Kashmir tweets," said Hitendrasinh Rajput, a spokesperson for the VHP's state unit in Ahmedabad, Gujarat's largest city. "We want these companies and others to understand that Kashmir is an inseparable part of India," Rajput added.

As the backlash over the posts intensified, companies such as Hyundai, Kia, Domino's Pizza, Yum Brands' Pizza Hut and KFC, as well as Suzuki Motor, Honda Motor, and Isuzu Motor in Japan, issued apologies.

Photo by The Quilt

Photo by The Quilt