Airtel responds to Islamophobic customer, Twitter reacts

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel has got into a controversy on Monday, 18 June, after its Islamophobic customer refused to be attended by a Muslim representative and demand for a “Hindu representative” to resolve the issue.

It began when a user, who goes on Twitter as @pooja303singh, an Airtel direct to home (DTH) customer filed a complaint of “misbehaviour” by one of the employees of the Airtel.

An representative from the telecom company appeared to be a Muslim from his name, Shoaib, immediately address her concerns, but, Singh instead of acknowledging Shoaib’s response demanded a “Hindu representative.”

This is what Pooja Singh said: (@pooja303singh): Dear Shohaib (sic), as you are a Muslim and I have no faith in your working ethics because Kuran may have different version for customer service, thus requesting you to assign a Hindu representative for my request. Thanks.”

Hours later, she received a response from another Airtel executive by the name of Gaganjot:

Airtel, with its twitter handle of @Airtel_Presence, responded: “Hi Pooja! As discussed, please let me know what days & time frames work best for you so we can talk. Further, please share an alternate number so that I can assist you further with this. Thank You, Gaganjot.”

The country’s largest telecom operator was trolled after it responded and accepted the woman’s outrageous request.

Several twitter users including activists, historian too express disgust and alleged that the network service provider has involved in bigotry.

Among those who tweeted was former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who called for switching to other operators.

Abdullah tweeted: “Dear @Airtel_Presence this conversation is genuine (I have seen the timeline myself). I refuse to pay another penny to a company that condones such blatant bigotry. I am beginning the process of porting my number to another service provider & canceling my DTH & Broadband.”

Historian Irfan Habib said that he can’t believe this was for real.

Facing scathing criticism, Airtel almost nine hours after the customer’s hate-filled tweet clarified on Twitter:

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

After the incident, many of Airtel’s existing users ‘called for switching to different service provider.’