A tweet by a man claiming to have cancelled his Ola cab because the driver was Muslim has prompted outrage on Twitter. Abhishek Mishra, whose Twitter profile describes him as a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and a “Hindutva Thinker” tweeted on April 20: “Cancelled @Olacabs Booking because Driver was Muslim. I don’t want to give my money to Jihadi People.”
The tweet garnered much attention over the weekend and there were multiple pleas to the cab aggregator, Ola, and Twitter, to take action against Mishra. Many also pointed out that Mishra was followed by some Union ministers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, including Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for Culture, Mahesh Sharma.
Mishra’s Facebook profile claims that he works for the VHP’s IT cell and his cover photo is an image of him with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Sunday evening, Ola responded to Mishra’s tweet, asserting that it is a secular platform that does not discriminate against its drivers.
On Monday, Twitter continued confronting the issue in the way it knows best: through humour and satire. Twitter user “A purvaa” said “Cancelled an Ola cab because driver was a guy named Vikas and uske aane ki umeed thi nhi mujhe.” The driver’s name was Vikas, and I didn’t expect him to come, she said, taking a dig at the BJP’s campaign promise of bringing Vikas, or development, to India.
Another Twitter user said: “Cancelled an Ola Cab booking today because the driver’s name was Atif and he screamed “Hum kis gali ja rahe hain” on the call”, referencing popular musician Atif Aslam and his song that translates to, “Where are we going?”
“Cancelled an Ola Cab because the driver’s name was Salman Khan, aur bhai saab main khda tha footpath pe (and I was standing on a footpath”, tweeted Dr. Gill, invoking the infamous hit-and-run case in which the Bollywood actor was tried and later acquitted.
Several jokes about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and famous sportsmen also followed.
Mishra has defended his actions and shared what he said was a message from Twitter claiming that the micro-blogging platform did not see any grounds to take action against him.