A leading Indian hosiery brand Dollar Bigg Boss has stoked controversy for showing Kashmiris as "thieves" in its recent advertisement, which has been shot in Kashmir.
In the advertisement, directed by Arunima Sharma, while a couple poses for a selfie in Kashmir's Nishat Garden, their clothes are snatched by a man, who, according to social media, is a local. The man tries to flee after snatching the clothes but gets caught on a ghat of Dal Lake, in fear he returns the clothes, the actor (Manish Paul) smiles and tells him to keep the clothes, charitably. The actor's girlfriend also goes on to say "Ye ghar walon kay liye (These for your family)", while putting some more clothes in the man's hands.
Soon after the advertisement went viral, social media users were up in arms against the company and its portrayal of Kashmiris, many users said the company is portraying Kashmiris as thieves while the erstwhile state has zero crime rate against tourists.
"This ad script is too offensive for people of Kashmir. This projects and sets a wrong paradigm among masses. Kashmir has been a no 1 safe destination for tourists across the globe" wrote Muzammil Maqbool, founder of the 101 North Media.
Former vice president of the JNU students' union Shehla Rashid said that the advertisement portrayed Kashmiris as thieves, "Kashmir has the lowest crime rate toward tourists and is comparable to European countries in terms of safety." Shehla wrote on Twitter.
Former Hip Hop artist, Shayan Nabi, also known as Shyn9, took to Twitter and said that the advertisement should be taken down as it is portraying an indigenous population in a bad light, "@DollarBigboss will you apologise and take it down or not?" Shayan wrote.
National Conference spokesperson, Sarah Hayat Shah, called the brand "nonsensical" and said the advertisement hurt sentiments.
Sardar Nasir Ali Khan, a radio jockey popularly known as RJ took to Twitter and criticized the company.
"Is not 'terrorist' tag sufficient, as u labelled #Kashmiris with another tag 'thieves' . Let us live in peace." wrote a user on Twitter.
The Kolkata based brand is yet to issue any statement about the advertisement.