Amit Shukla, a customer from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, had cancelled the order after Zomato refused to change his delivery executive.
When Zomato employee Faiyaz was given the task of taking a parcel of food to a customer in Jabalpur on Tuesday, he probably didn’t think of it as anything more than a usual delivery run. And yet, two hours later, he had become the unwitting subject of a raging social media debate on customer rights and religious differences.
The customer, Amit Shukla, cancelled the order because Faiyaz was a “non-Hindu”. He also took to Twitter to express his anger at the food aggregator for refusing to change the delivery executive to one that better suited his religious preferences. “Just cancelled an order on @ZomatoIN they allocated a non hindu rider for my food they said they can’t change rider and can’t refund on cancellation I said you can’t force me to take a delivery I don’t want don’t refund just cancel,” he tweeted.
Zomato shot back with a witty response that has now taken the Internet by storm. “Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion,” it tweeted, refusing to change the delivery executive on the basis of what it claimed was an unreasonable demand from the customer.
Faiyaz, however, was far from impressed by all the dust kicked up by something that should have been a simple food delivery mission. “This hurts me, but what can I do… we are poor people who are meant to put up with things like these,” news agency PTI quoted him as saying.
Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal stood by the delivery executive. “We are proud of the idea of India and the diversity of our esteemed customers and partners. We aren’t sorry to lose any business that comes in the way of our values,” he tweeted. Union Minister Ramnath Athawale also came out strongly against Amit Shukla, terming his action as “an attempt to create a rift in society”.
The man behind the controversy, however, showed no signs of backing out. “Does my freedom of expression and religion not fall under the idea of India?” he told a news channel. “The holy month of Shravan is on, and this is a matter of personal choice.”
Meanwhile, the food aggregator won praises from many – including former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi. “Respect. I love your app. Thank you for giving me a reason to admire the company behind it,” Omar Abdullah tweeted.