Hindu Hardliners Protest Kashmir Tweets in Modi's Home State

AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) – A whole bunch of Hindu nationalist protesters marched within the Indian state of Gujarat on Saturday, prompting the closure of shops owned by a number of multinational firms caught up in a furore over social media posts supporting disputed Kashmir.

The messages had been posted final week by the Pakistani branches of corporations together with Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, quick meals chain Domino’s Pizza and Yum Model Inc’s Pizza Hut and KFC, which additionally function in India.

They had been issued by the businesses on Feb. 5 to coincide with Pakistan’s Kashmir Solidarity Day, held yearly to commemorate the sacrifices of Kashmiris struggling for self-determination, and brought on anger amongst social media customers in India.

“These firms can’t be doing enterprise in India and on the similar time supporting Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir,” Dinesh Navadiya, nationwide treasurer of Hindu nationalist organisation Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), informed Reuters throughout a protest within the metropolis of Surat.

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Shouting slogans equivalent to “Kashmir is Ours” and sporting saffron scarves, greater than 100 members of Bajrang Dal, one other Hindu nationalist group, additionally joined the protest – considered one of a number of held in Gujarat, the house state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Each the VHP and Bajrang Dal are linked to Modi’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Social gathering (BJP).

The furore has highlighted the dangers confronted by firms working in India and arch rival Pakistan, which management components of Kashmir however each declare the Himalayan territory in full.

India says Pakistan helps an armed revolt in opposition to New Delhi’s rule in India-controlled Kashmir that broke out in 1990. Pakistan denies the cost and says it solely offers diplomatic and ethical help for the Kashmiri folks.

“We protested peacefully in opposition to these firms for the tweets by their Pakistani associates in help of Kashmir,” stated Hitendrasinh Rajput, spokesperson for the VHP’s state unit in Gujarat’s largest metropolis of Ahmedabad.

“We need to make it clear to those firms and others that Kashmir is an inseparable a part of India,” Rajput stated.

Corporations together with Hyundai, Kia, Domino’s Pizza, Yum Model’s Pizza Hut and KFC, Japan’s Suzuki Motor, Honda Motor and Isuzu Motor issued apologies as criticism grew over the posts.

(Writing by Nidhi Verma; Modifying by Helen Popper)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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