The row first erupted on Sunday when Twitter users in India took umbrage to a tweet posted by the handle ‘Hyundai Pakistan Official’, expressing “solidarity with Kashmiri brothers”.
The tweets glorified the so-called “Kashmir Solidarity Day“, which is marked by Pakistan on February 5.
Shortly after the tweet, thousands of users took to Twitter calling for the boycott of Hyundai.
Over the next couple of days, several popular brands like KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Kia, Suzuki, iSuzu and Toyota faced similar backlash from Indian Twitter users for their recent tweets on Kashmir.
Some users also dug up old tweets on Kashmir Solidarity Day posted by the Pakistani handles of these brands.
With the issue intensifying on social media, hashtags like #BoycottPizzaHut, #BoycottKFC and #BoycottDominos started trending on Twitter.
The Indian handles of most of these brands have issued apology for the “unsolicited social media posts”, which have now been deleted, promoted by the Pakistani handles.
Earlier today, Domino’s India said that India is the country it has called home for the last 25 years, and that it stands to protect its legacy forever.
This is the country we have called our home for the last 25 years, and we stand here to protect its legacy forever.… https://t.co/HU3R5fbvMR
— dominos_india (@dominos_india) 1644313273000
“We regret and apologize for the unsolicited social media post published on Domino’s social media handles outside the country,” it said.
In a statement posted by Toyota India, the carmaker called itself an “apolitical entity” and said that any political statements made by dealers or associated stakeholders do not reflect its corporate stance.
“We regret any hurt this may have caused,” it said.
— Toyota India (@Toyota_India) 1644295500000
Kia India Statement: https://t.co/FKiUI2PXxt
— Kia India (@KiaInd) 1644320559000
The Twitter handle of Suzuki Motorcycle India posted a similar statement, expressing “deep regret” for the hurt caused by “such insensitive communication”.
Message from Suzuki Motor Corporation https://t.co/zI05ImcGUU
— Suzuki Motorcycle India (@suzuki2wheelers) 1644324629000
India summons South Korean ambassador, expresses displeasure
Earlier today, the ministry of external affairs summoned the ambassador of Republic of Korea to register its strong displeasure over the issue.
Hyundai is a South Korean-based company.
The ambassador was bluntly told that there could be no compromise on the matter that relates to the country’s territorial integrity, the ministry said.
The Indian ambassador in Seoul also contacted the Hyundai headquarters and sought an explanation.
In a phone call to external affairs minister S Jaishankar, South Korean foreign minister Chung Eui-yong “regretted the offence” caused to the people and government of India by the social media post.
In Parliament, Union minister Piyush Goyal said that the government has asked Hyundai Motors to be more forceful in its unequivocal apology over the matter.
(With inputs from agencies)