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KFC and Hyundai Face Boycott Threats in India for Solidarity with Kashmir

Several multinational brands faced boycott threats in India for posting solidarity messages on Kashmir Day, 5th February. These brands include KFC, Hyundai, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, KIA, Suzuki, and Atlas Honda. According to the reports, the Pakistani associates of these brands made social posts to support the people of Kashmir. 5th February is a holiday in Pakistan for showing solidarity with people suffering in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Brands Delete Messages after Boycott Threats in India

The posts from Paksitani accounts of the brands called for the freedom of Kashmir which sparked the ire of India. According to reports, the loud boycott threats forced the brands to ask Pakistani affiliates to remove the posts. Since then the solidarity posts have been deleted but social media users have saved the screenshots. Some Indians thought that it was a kind of “strategy” to call for the freedom of the oppressed.

Indian Associates Apologize

The backlash made Indian accounts of the brands apologize to the market of 1.4 billion people. Afraid of potentially losing customers, they underscored the importance of solidarity with Kashmir. Here is the statement by Hyundai in which it claimed to remain committed to Indian customers.

Irrational Response from India

The response from India and these huge brands giving in to boycott threats was heartbreaking for many standing in solidarity with Kashmir. For others, it was quite funny how a simple harmless post caused chaos in the high ranks of a country. India’s External Affairs Minister claimed that he spoke to the Foreign Minister of South Korea about the “issue”. It was hilarious as a social media post from Pakistan took preference over diplomatic talks between India and SK. Many Pakistanis made fun of the Indian Minister and shared several memes to show how an underpaid marketing executive of a company shook the core of an entire country.

The history of oppression in Kashmir and its colonial exploitation started well before India came into existence. Ever since Mughal Empire annexed the region in 1589 AD, Kashmir has never been governed by its locals. When the Mughals left, it was taken over by Afghans from 1753-1819, Sikhs from 1819-1846, Dogras from 1846-1947, and India and Pakistan from 1947 to date.

Both countries fought multiple wars over the region, suppressing the actual voices of the Kashmiri people. 3 journalists won Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for entering the dragon’s den and covering the violent situation in Kashmir.

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