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Airtel India under fire after complying with anti-Muslim request

  • Published at 04:39 pm June 21st, 2018
Airtel customer care
An Airtel Customer care centre in India Reuters

The telecom company has been heavily criticized after it failed to defend a Muslim employee against discrimination from a customer

Airtel India has been heavily criticized after it failed to defend a Muslim employee against discrimination from a customer.

According to the BBC, the row began on Monday when Pooja Singh – the customer in question - tweeted that she had a terrible experience with a call centre employee. When an Airtel customer service representative with a Muslim name replied, she asked for a "Hindu representative” as she had "no faith" in the Muslim employee's "working ethics" since "the Koran may have a different version for customer service."

Scant hours had passed before another Airtel customer representative – this time, not a Muslim – responded in compliance with Pooja’s request and offered to accommodate her.

Screenshots taken from Twitter
 

The exchange received intense backlash online as many interpreted the move as extremely anti-Muslim. The former chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir denounced the company, saying he would stop using Airtel.

After it was widely condemned on social media, Airtel issued a statement on Twitter claiming to be above discrimination.

However, many users have continued to criticize the company over the initial response complying with the discriminatory request. 

Many people have also trolled the customer for her tweet - one called her a "Hindu bigot" and another referred to her as a "hatemonger."

Pooja has since responded, claiming that those who have criticized her have only proven her right.

The incident happened a day after Ola, an Indian taxicab aggregator, landed in controversy when one of its drivers refused to drop a Muslim customer at his location.

The company issued a public apology and fired the driver the following day.