Targeted by right wing goons, Tanishq showroom gets police cover
Tanishq showroom in Gandhidham, Kutch was targeted, forced to paste apology note; eventually police had to step in
“Apologises to all the Hindus of Kutch”, a handwritten note paste on the on the glass door of the Tanishq showroom at Gandhidham town in Kutch, has illurtrated how social media hate and trolling translates into real time violence on the ground by right wing goons waiting for an excuse. A group of vandals allegedly barged into the showroom; their ‘follow up’ threat after the social media backlash the right wing hate factory had been unleashing on the jewelry brand, Tanishq. The situation got so out of hand that the local police had to intervene and deploy increased vigilance in the area on Wednesday.
According to The Indian Express, Prakash Gupta, owner of the Tanishq franchise in Gandhidham, said “six to seven persons had barged into the showroom Monday evening,” before one of them wrote an apology on behalf of the store with a sketch pen on the noticeboard. “They told us that they had objections to an ad released by the company and that they were perceiving it negatively. We told them that we will inform the company about it. Then they wrote on the noticeboard, which we generally use to display the price of gold, that we were apologising to the Hindu community and left,” Gupta told the IE.
He added that he had informed police about the incident on Tuesday, but “In response, the police came today. We have intimated what happened but we don’t intend to file any police complaint. Our company has also withdrawn the ad.” Gupta maintained that the “showroom was not attacked”.
Meanwhile the government machinery was also active in defending those who had threatened and barged into the showroom, perhaps with an intention to intimidate or even attack if needed.
The Union Government’s own Press Information Bureau also got into the act and said “no such incident” had happened at “any Tanishq store”.
Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja posted on Twitter that reports of the showroom being “attacked” were false and directed that a case be filed against those spreading “fake news” reported IE. Jadeja posted: “The news of an attack on a showroom in Gandhidham, Kutch by @ndtv is totally fake. This is a motivated attempt to impact the law & order & incite violence in Gujarat. I have asked to register a case & take strict action against those who spread this fake news”.
The NDTV had reported the incident soon after it happened and later said that the store had received a “threat”. The IE quoted Kutch (East) SP Mayur Patil who said “there was no violence at the store located on Tagore Road.” However, he did acknowledge that the showroom had received threats and police had been deployed since late Tuesday, “Tanishq had released an ad on Friday, which had hurt religious sentiments of a few. After that, Tanishq had issued an apology at the national level. Following that apology, two people had come to Tanishq Gandhidham shop on October 12 and demanded that an apology in Gujarati be displayed here. The shop owner promptly met that demand. However, he was receiving threat calls from the entire state and Kutch area and he duly informed police about it on October 13. Since then, police have been deployed and patrolling is being done,” the SP said.
This is another example of how it is up to the citizen, in this case the shop owner, to bend to the whims and threats of vandals and goons.
The store staff told the media that a mob had gathered outside the showroom Monday evening after which six or seven of them barged into the showroom and abused them. There were female staff members and female customers in the store at that moment. The staff added that they wrote on their noticeboard that the advertisement was shameful and therefore the showroom “apologises to all the Hindus of Kutch”.
As SabrangIndia had analysed, jewellery brand Tanishq’s one-step-forward-two-steps-back attitude towards the reception of its recent advertisement has put the focus on the role of brands and advertisers amidst an increasingly communal political climate.
While Tanishq cowed down to RW threats, many top brands voiced that they intend to be more careful while selecting news channels before paying to advertise so that they don’t inadvertently end up endorsing toxic content in their shows. Bajaj industries and Parle Products have taken a firm stand to boycott news channels that promote toxic or aggressive content. Industrialist Rahul Bajaj went so far as to boycott three news channels.
But Tanishq feeling pressured to drop its advertisement showing a Muslim family performing the god-bharai ceremony of their Hindu daughter-in-law, shows the other side of the coin. The brand initially faced backlash from the right-wing Hindutva extremists who claimed the advertisement supported ‘love jihad.’ Then Tanishq faced the second wave of criticism from liberals and others who were disappointed to see the jewellery brand take down the advertisement.
Courtesy : Sabrang