Airtel panders to user’s demand for ‘Hindu representative’, Omar Abdullah says he will unsubscribe

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said he would no longer remain a Bharti Airtel subscriber, after the telecommunications services firm responded to a user’s request to assign a “Hindu representative” to handle her complaint.

But an Airtel spokesperson said the company does not discriminate on the basis of religion or caste. “If a customer contacts us again for an ongoing service issue then the first available service executive responds in the interest of time,” the firm said. “We request everyone not to misinterpret and give it unnecessary religious colour. The said customer has been responded to.”

Pooja Singh, a subscriber to Bharti Airtel’s Direct to Home service, on Monday tweeted that the telecom company’s service engineer had “misbehaved” with her when she complained about reinstallation of the service. Bharti Airtel representative Shoaib responded to her tweet that the company would look into Singh’s problem.

However, Singh demanded that a Hindu representative handle her complaint, claiming she had no faith in Shoaib’s work ethics as he is a Muslim. “Dear Shoaib, as you’re a Muslim and I have no faith in your working ethics because Kuran [Quran] may have different version for customer service, thus requesting you to assign a Hindu representative for my request,” she tweeted.

Later on Monday, Airtel responded to the Twitter user saying the company did not differentiate on the basis of caste or religion.

“Dear Pooja, at Airtel, we absolutely do not differentiate between customers, employees and partners on the basis of caste or religion,” the statement read. “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.”

Criticising Bharti Airtel, Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader, said he will unsubscribe from the company after the incident. “I refuse to pay another penny to a company that condones such blatant bigotry,” Abdullah said. “I’m beginning the process of porting my number to another service provider and canceling my Direct to Home and broadband [service].”

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