Hyundai Motor India on Tuesday, 8 February, expressed regret over “any offense caused to the people of India,” after the South Korean automaker faced flak on Twitter after a dealer of Hyundai in Pakistan posted the message, “Let us remember the sacrifices of our Kashmiri brothers and stand in support as they continue to struggle for freedom.”
Responding to the posts, the Union Ministry of External Affairs issued summons to the South Korean ambassador, stating that the posts were "unacceptable," and "appropriate action must be taken."
Indian users on Twitter also called for a boycott of Hyundai products in India.
On Tuesday, Hyundai Motor India said in its statement:
“As a business policy, Hyundai Motor Company does not comment on political or religious issues in any specific region. Therefore, it is clearly against Hyundai Motor’s policy that the independently-owned distributor in Pakistan made unauthorised Kashmir-related social media posts from their own accounts.”
The statement added, “Once the situation was brought to our attention, we made the distributor acutely aware of the inappropriateness of the action. We have since taken measures to ensure the distributor, which misused the Hyundai brand identity, has removed the social media posts and we have put in place processes to prevent a future recurrence.”
The South Korean company further clarified that Hyundai Motor India, “is not associated with the distributor in Pakistan,” and that they “strongly reject the distributor’s unauthorized non-business related social media activity.”
The statement concluded, “Hyundai Motor Company has been investing in India for many decades and remains strongly committed to Indian customers. We deeply regret any offense caused to the people of India by this unofficial social media activity.”
'Unacceptable, Action Must be Taken': MEA
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) expressed "strong displeasure" over Hyundai Pakistan's social media post on Tuesday, and said that India will not compromise on matters concerning India's territorial integrity, reported PTI.
"Strong displeasure on unacceptable social media post by Hyundai Pakistan was conveyed to South Korean envoy. We expected Hyundai to take appropriate action to properly address these issues," the ministry stated.
It added, "This matter concerned India's territorial integrity on which there could be no compromise."
Hyundai's sister company KIA Motors had also made a post for 'Kashmir Solidarity Day' from its 'KIA Crossroads' handle and had faced flak for the same.
KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's Also Apologise for Kashmir Day Posts
Hyundai’s statement comes a day after fast-food brand KFC apologised for the brand’s official Pakistan handle sharing a post with the hashtag #KashmirDay, and a message reading: “You never left our thoughts and we hope that the coming years bring peace to you!"
The post was shared on Facebook on 5 February, which is observed as Kashmir Day in Pakistan.
KFC India issued an apology on Monday and said, “We deeply apologise for a post that was published on some KFC social media channels outside the country. We honour and respect India, and remain steadfast in our commitment to serving all Indians with pride.”
Meanwhile, Pizza Hut Pakistan's official Instagram handle had shared a post, which has now been deleted, with the message: "We Stand With You!"
Later, the fast-food brand issued a statement saying "it does not condone, support or agree with the contents of a post circulating in social media."
Pizza Hut added, "We remain steadfast in our commitment to serve all our brothers and sisters with pride."
Further, pizza brand Domino's also issued an apology for Kashmir Day posts from its handle. "Domino's India is committed to the Indian market, having called it home for more than 25 years, and has the utmost respect for the people, culture and spirit of nationalism of the country," the company said in a statement on Twitter.
The multinational pizza chain further said, "We regret and apologize for the unsolicited social media post published on Domino's social media handles outside the country."