It all began as one of its customers did not want a Muslim representative to resolve a problem. Rather, the customer wanted a Hindu representative to resolve the issue.
Bharti Airtel, the country’s largest telecom operator, was embroiled in a controversy as one of its customers did not want a Muslim representative to resolve a problem. Rather, the customer wanted a Hindu representative to resolve the issue.
It began with a complaint from a Pooja Singh on Twitter. This was about her Airtel direct-to-home connection on Twitter. An Airtel representative named Shoaib replied that the company would get back to her shortly, with more information.
However, this is what Pooja Singh said: (@pooja303singh): Dear Shohaib (sic), as you are a Muslim and I have no faith in your working ethics because Kuran may have different version for customer service, thus requesting you to assign a Hindu representative for my request. Thanks.”
In reply to the tweet, Airtel, with its Twitter handle of @Airtel_Presence, responded: “Hi Pooja! As discussed, please let me know what days & time frames work best for you so we can talk. Further, please share an alternate number so that I can assist you further with this. Thank You, Gaganjot.”
An Airtel spokesperson said: “At Airtel, we do not differentiate between customers or our employees/partners on the basis of caste or religion. If a customer contacts us again for an ongoing service issue then the first available service executive responds in the interest of time. We request everyone not to misinterpret and give it unnecessary religious colour. The said customer has been responded to.”
Twitter users, including former Jammu-Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, alleged that Airtel has involved in bigotry.
Abdullah tweeted: “Dear @Airtel_Presence this conversation is genuine (I have seen the timeline myself). I refuse to pay another penny to a company that condones such blatant bigotry. I am beginning the process of porting my number to another service provider & canceling my DTH & Broadband.”
Many more Twitter users, too, called for switching to other operators.
Airtel later clarified on Twitter: “Dear Pooja, at Airtel, we absolutely do not differentiate between customers, employees and partners on the basis of caste or religion. We would urge you to do the same. Both Shoaib and Gaganjot are part of our customer resolution team. If any customer contacts us for an ongoing service issue then the first available service executive responds in the interest of time. On your query, we will get back to you as soon as there is an update. Thanks -- Himanshu, Airtel Response Team Lead.”