Several large multinational brands, including Pizza Hut Inc., Domino’s Pizza Inc. and Yum Brands Inc.’s KFC, trended on social media in India on Tuesday, with calls for boycotts after some of their affiliates in Pakistan posted support for people in the disputed region of Kashmir.
Other brands that were targeted on Twitter included South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and Atlas Honda Ltd., after accounts linked with the brands tweeted on the Kashmir Solidarity Day over the weekend, a holiday observed in Pakistan to show support for people in the India-administered part of the region.
— Hyundai India (@HyundaiIndia) February 8, 2022
Kashmir is a highly sensitive issue for both the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors, which have fought multiple wars over the region since their independence from the British in 1947. The picturesque mountainous province, home to ski resorts and some of the largest military deployments, is ruled in part by India and Pakistan, but claimed in full by both.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs expressed “strong displeasure” to Hyundai’s post. “It is also expected that such companies or their affiliates will refrain from false and misleading comments on matters of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry summoned the South Korean ambassador over the issue on Monday and informed him the “matter concerned India’s territorial integrity on which there could be no compromise.” South Korean foreign minister also called his Indian counterpart and regretted the “offence,” the ministry added.
KFC India and Domino’s in India apologized for the post on Monday. Hyundai India said it took steps to remove the posts made by an “independently-owned distributor” in Pakistan.
Atlas Honda could not be reached for a comment despite multiple calls. Pizza Hut in India didn’t immediately respond to requests for comments.
We deeply apologize 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.
— KFC India (@KFC_India) February 7, 2022
Many of the tweets were unavailable by Tuesday, even though Twitter users continued to post screen shots, keeping the issue as the main trending topic in India over two days this week. –Bloomberg