The Tanishq ad, released last week, has been withdrawn after vicious trolling. (File)
A showroom of popular jewellery brand Tanishq in Gujarat's Kutch district received threats over an advertisement based on the theme of a Hindu-Muslim couple and their families, the police said today. Threats were also made at the store and the manager was forced to write an apology note for the ad that had been withdrawn earlier after vicious trolling on social media. The police claimed there was no attack on the showroom and added that they had been patrolling the area. There was no explanation, however, on why the apology was put up outside the store.
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On Monday night, Tanishq's store in Gandhidham, about 310 km from state capital Gandhinagar, was targeted over the ad. "Two people came to Tanishq store and demanded to put up an apology in Gujarati. The shop owner fulfilled the demand but he was getting threat calls. The news about the store being attacked is false," Mayur Patil, a police officer, told news agency ANI.
Another police officer said: "Some people had informed the store the ad was not in good taste and had hurt sentiments, and some threat calls had been received. The police have been regularly patrolling the area. No rioting, protest or attack took place."
The two men, who barged into the store, forced the manager to write the apology and later put it up outside the store. "The ad is shameful and we apologise (sic)," the manager is said to have written in the note. "The store has not been attacked. However, I received some threat calls. The police have supported us," Rahul Manuja, the manager, told ANI.
The incident was caught on security cameras. In the video, a man is seen telling the store official that he is "politely requesting" that a board be put up, apparently with an apology. As the manager assures that it will be done at 7 pm, he is told: "Take a picture of the board, make it viral, send it to me."
The Tanishq ad was trolled by a section on social media who felt it "promoted love jihad". But the egregious trolling was also condemned by many. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, author Chetan Bhagat and many others called the ad beautiful and said the online attacks were against the very Idea of India.
The ad was pulled from the official accounts of the jewellery brand on Monday night as a barrage of comments was directed at the brand and Ratan Tata (whose Tata Company owns Tanishq). Tanishq issued a statement yesterday saying it was "deeply saddened" and that it was withdrawing the video. "We are deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions and withdraw this film keeping in mind the hurt sentiments and well being of our employees, partners and store staff," the statement read.
One of Tanishq's brand managers in Bengaluru has also been subjected to hate, sources said, stressing that he was not associated with the campaign.
Titan stocks fell sharply alongside the controversy on Tuesday, ending 2.1 per cent down on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and 2.5 per cent down on the National Stock Exchange.
The ad shows a pregnant young woman in a sari escorted by a woman she calls "ma (mother)" to what appears to be an interfaith baby shower. The woman asks the older woman, apparently her mother-in-law, "but this tradition is not observed at your home..." The mother-in-law, in a salwar suit and her head covered with a dupatta, replies: "But isn't it a tradition for every home to keep daughters happy?"
The ad was meant to promote Tanishq's new collection, called "Ekatvam", which literally means "oneness". "The idea behind the Ekatvam campaign is to celebrate the coming together of people from different walks of life, local communities and families during these challenging times and celebrate the beauty of oneness. This film has stimulated divergent and severe reactions, contrary to its very objective," Tanishq said in its statement on Tuesday.