A journalist employed by the AFP news agency, Uzair Hasan Rizvi, has implored HDFC Bank to act against one of its employees for views he calls ‘Islamophobic’ and ‘Xenophobic’. He has also tagged Mumbai Police suggesting that the person he is accusing of bigotry is in need of counselling.
— Uzair Hasan Rizvi (@RizviUzair) May 21, 2019
In the concerned post, a data scientist had suggested that in light of the partition since Hindus were not given an opportunity to express their opinion on the matter of India becoming a secular country and giving citizenship to Muslims, there ought to be a Brexit-style referendum where Hindus can register their opinion. According to him, “a bunch of elitists” forced their personal idea of India upon the Hindus of the country.
In response to Rizvi’s tweet, HDFC has stated that it has taken cognizance of the matter and will take appropriate action against the individual concerned.
group, we strongly condemn such divisive and insensitive comments /views. -Zubin (2/2)
— HDFC Bank (@HDFCBank_Cares) May 21, 2019
HDFC’s tweet has sparked outrage among people on social media who claim that the employee was merely expressing his constitutional right of freedom of expression. People further stated that he was not threatening violence or forcing his opinion down anyone’s throat.
He is just exercising his FOS which is guaranteed by the constitution you cannot fire him for that
His post is nonabusive, he has a right to tell his opinions out loud last time I checked this country was still a democracy act like you’re in one.
Firing him would be hinduphobia!
— Not The Girl Next Door (@nt_d_grlnxtdoor) May 22, 2019
If u remove akshay lahoti or harass him. We will tag u with every hinduphobic’s SM account who works across HDFC group. Looking forward that u take actions against them too. What a shame, employers getting into personal opinions on religion!! Sick
— Bhartiya (@gary_agg) May 22, 2019
People have also threatened to boycott HDFC if any adverse action is taken against the employee for his opinions.
Will close my SB and Broking accounts with HDFC if he is sacked..My brother will follow too..
— J©️ ⚔️ Aryavarta ⚔️ (@J481) May 22, 2019
I am also going to close two insurance accounts (HDFC 3d plus/term plan) of mine & wife for your bias towards Hindus. Learn to respect #FOE.
— Unapologetic hindu (ଓଡ଼ିଆ) 🇮🇳 (@RTsLord) May 22, 2019
I am closing mine and my family’s bank accounts with you.. Time to move to Kotak 🙂
— Bitter is better (@bitofbitter) May 22, 2019
If Akshay loses his job then i will close my account with HDFC the next day.
— Swami (@soami_s) May 22, 2019
It is also notable here that the journalist who accused the concerned HDFC employee with Islamophobia has his own history of Hinduphobia. In 2017, he had shared a tweet branding the Hindu custom of ‘Ayudh Puja’ during the Vijaya Dashami celebrations in Bengal as ‘Saffron camp learning from Godse’.
The attempt to have employees sacked for expressing their opinions and branding any general observation as ‘Islamophobia’ is not new. Last year, a celebrated Indian chef Atul Kochhar was hounded by such so-called ‘secular liberals’ after he tried to highlight that Hindus have suffered under Muslim invaders in India, a plain historical fact.
Recently, a doctor in the UK was accused of Islamophobia and is on the verge of losing his job after his simple act of asking a woman to lift her veil so he could hear her talk regarding her daughter’s illness was termed as ‘discrimination’.
The series of events will also bring into focus the debate on whether private companies ought to regulate the freedom of expression of its employees beyond the regulations imposed by the Constitution of India.