Hours after Hyundai failed to provide a satisfactory response for the ‘Kashmir solidarity’ message uploaded on social media platforms by its dealer in Pakistan, Indian netizens initiated a social media campaign to boycott the South Korean automotive manufacturer.
‘#Boycott Hyundai’ began trending on Twitter as lakhs of people displayed their angst against the automobile manufacturer for posting a pusillanimous clarification after outrage swept the micro-blogging platform over social media posts that undermined India’s territorial integrity.
One CA Ashutosh Soni informed that he had cancelled the booking of Hyundai Verna after witnessing the anti-India stance of the company. He wrote, “I booked Hyundai Verna a month ago & it was due to be delivered this month but after seeing #HyundaiPakistan post, supporting separatism in #Kashmir, India, cancelled the Verna & called the Honda outlet and taken the delivery of Honda City today itself. #BoycottHyundai, that’s it!”
I booked #Hyundai Verna a month ago & it was due to be deliver this month but after seeing #HyundaiPakistan post, supporting separatism in #Kashmir,India, cancelled the Verna & called the Honda outlet and taken the delivery of Honda City today itself.
— CA Ashutosh Soni (@CA_AshutoshSoni) February 6, 2022
Another Twitter user stated, “That’s why Make in India is necessary. My next car will be Tata Motors. Bye Bye Hyundai India. #BoycottHyundai”
That’s why Make in India is necessary
My next car will be @TataMotors
— Asst. Prof. Sushant Yadav (@SDMSushant) February 6, 2022
IPS Arun Bothra, who commands a sizeable following on Twitter, said, “In my personal capacity and with limited reach, I request everyone not to buy a #Hyundai vehicle. First time supporting a boycott call. Lets #BoycottHyundai. They have no respect for our national sentiments. The half-hearted statement below tells that they have no remorse also.”
In my personal capacity and with limited reach, I request everyone not to buy a #Hyundai vehicle.
First time supporting a boycott call. Lets #BoycottHyundai. They have no respect for our national sentiments. The half-hearted statement below tells that they have no remorse also. https://t.co/RziyiBeJo7
— Arun Bothra 🇮🇳 (@arunbothra) February 7, 2022
“We have sacrificed Brave Soldiers and innocent unarmed Civilians … Their sacrifice is more precious to us Indians. Say NO to खटारा. Be Indian Buy Indian,” wrote retired Army General KJS Dhillon.
We have sacrificed Brave Soldiers and innocent unarmed Civilians … Their sacrifice is more precious to us Indians 🙏💐
Say NO to खटारा
Be Indian Buy Indian #BoycottHyundai
Jai Hind 🇮🇳
— KJS DHILLON🇮🇳 (@Tiny_Dhillon) February 7, 2022
Author Neeraj Atri pointed out that he was initially confused between a Kia Seltos and Hyundai Creta. The boycott campaign has solved his problem, he added.
Was a little confused between Creta and Seltos. #BoycottHyundai has solved the problem.
— Neeraj Atri (@AtriNeeraj) February 6, 2022
Host Richa Anirudh emphasised that the statement of Hyundai India did not serve any purpose. “Be clear and apologise for PakistanHyundai tweet and make them apologise too or else we Indians shall continue to #BoycottHyundai! You decide!” she said.
No @HyundaiIndia ! This statement does not serve any purpose!!! Be clear and apologise for @PakistanHyundai tweet and make them apologise too or else we Indians shall continue to #BoycottHyundai ! You decide! @Hyundai_Global https://t.co/CCX7oEYOK9
— richa anirudh (@richaanirudh) February 6, 2022
The Background of the Controversy
On Saturday (February 5), automobile manufacturer Hyundai Motor Company courted controversy after the firm’s Pakistani dealership called for the disintegration of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir from the Union of India.
It all started when in a tweet, Hyundai Pakistan Official (@PakistanHyundai) wrote, “Let us remember the sacrifices of our Kashmiri brothers and stand in support as they continue to struggle for freedom.” The tweet was accompanied by a picture of a boat in Dal lake and the word ‘Kashmir’ juxtaposed with a barbed wire.
A similar message was posted by Hyundai Pakistan, both on its official Facebook and Instagram pages. Interestingly, Hyundai Pakistan demanded the secession of Indian territory on the occasion of ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ when the Pakistan government extends support to jihadi elements operating from Kashmir.
Indian netizens were miffed at the brazen interference in India’s geopolitical affairs and dissemination of Pakistani government propaganda by the South Korean automotive manufacturer. However, on questioning Hyundai India whether it endorsed the stand of Hyundai Pakistan, the firm responded by blocking the Indian netizens.
Several users are reaching out to the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), seeking stringent action against Hyundai India. In order to save its face, the automotive manufacturer put out a clarification on social media. Far from apologising to Indian citizens, Hyundai India’s statement reeked of arrogance.
In a statement, Hyundai India said that it has been committed to the Indian market which has been its second home for over 25 years now and alleged that the ‘unsolicited’ social media post linking Hyundai Motor India ‘offends’ it commitment and service to India. The company said that they have a zero-tolerance policy for insensitive communication and ‘strongly condemned’ such view.
— Hyundai India (@HyundaiIndia) February 6, 2022
However, it is not yet clear why they blocked Indian citizens on Twitter for questioning its stand and asking for accountability on the contentious social media post by its Pakistani counterpart. On not getting a proper response from the South Korean company over its pro-terrorism stand, Indian social media users vowed to boycott the firm and look for alternate options.
‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’: Pakistani propaganda of keeping the Kashmir pot boiling
Every year on 5th February, Pakistan tries to reinforce its propaganda on Jammu and Kashmir by observing ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, under the guise of which it continues to extend support to the Kashmiri separatist movement that is funded and supported by the Pakistan state. It was launched by Nawaz Sharif as the Pakistani Prime Minister in 1991.
Since then, anti-India groups and individuals and Pakistani dispensation have used the day to convince Kashmiris to incite violence. So-called solidarity ‘rallies’ are held in Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan.
Unlike the past, there were no public processions/rallies, special prayers in mosques, or marches on the streets of Kashmir this year. The situation in the valley has improved as this narrative has failed to elicit any output from the general public or separatist movements, both of which have been considerably weakened since the repeal of Article 370 in August 2019.