Bharatiya Janata Party MP Anantkumar Hegde has objected to an advertisement of tyre manufacturing company CEAT featuring actor Aamir Khan. In the advertisement, Khan is seen advising a group of people to burst firecrackers inside a housing society, and not on the streets.
In a letter to CEAT Chief Executive Officer Anant Vardhan Goenka, Hegde has claimed that the the advertisement has “created unrest among Hindus”.
The MP asked Goenka that his company should also address the “problem” that people face due to Muslims offering prayers on roads.
Hegde posted the letter on Facebook on Wednesday, saying that the advertisement should be withdrawn.
“Your company’s recent advertisement in which Aamir Khan advising people not to fire crackers on the streets is giving a very good message,” Hegde said in his letter to Goenka. “...In this regard, I request you to address one more problem faced by people on roads, i.e., blocking roads in the name of Namaz on Fridays and other important festive days by Muslims.”
Hegde claimed that ambulances and fire brigade vehicles get stuck in traffic, causing “grave losses”, due to Muslims offering prayers by blocking busy roads.
The BJP leader also asked Goenka to highlight noise pollution caused by mosques that give out calls for prayer on loudspeakers. He said that the sound levels were beyond permissible limits and caused “great inconvenience to people suffering from different ailments and taking rest, people working in different establishments and teachers teaching in classrooms”.
“Nowadays, a group of anti-Hindu actors always hurt the Hindu sentiments whereas they never try to expose the wrong doings of their community,” he added.
Hegde said that he hoped that in future, CEAT would “respect the Hindu sentiment and will not hurt it directly or indirectly by any means”.
The MP’s letter comes close on the heels of social media outrage over a tweet by clothing and furnishing brand Fabindia. The company had promoted its Diwali collection with the Urdu phrase “Jashn-e-Riwaaz” (celebration of customs).
Several social media users, including BJP leaders, claimed that the Urdu phrase had been used to hurt sentiments of the Hindu community.
On October 18, Fabindia removed the tweet.
In the past too, social media users who have aligned to the Hindutva ideology have forced top brands to scrap campaigns portraying a cohesion of cultures and religions.
In October 2020, jewellery brand Tanishq withdrew an advertisement featuring a baby shower for an inter-faith couple. Hindutva supporters had outraged against the commercial on social media for allegedly promoting “love jihad”.
“Love jihad” is a term frequently used by Hindutva organisations to allege a conspiracy by Muslim men to marry women from other religions solely to convert them to Islam.