12:27 GMT +318 October 2019
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     In this file photo taken on December 24, 2018 an Indian delivery man working with the food delivery app Zomato sits on his bike in Mumbai. - An Indian food service has sparked a national debate and set off a social media storm by defending a Muslim delivery driver who was rejected by a Hindu customer

    Zomato Controversy Divides Discourse Along Religious Lines in India

    © AFP 2019 / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian food aggregator platform Zomato’s response to a customer, who refused to take delivery of his order because the delivery boy was a Muslim, has taken an altogether different twist, with social media warriors divided along religious lines.

    In response to a tweet by a customer from Jabalpur, in Central India that he was cancelling an order through Zomato, because they “allocated a non-Hindu rider”, the food aggregator said, “…food does not have a religion. Humans make their choice of what to cook and what to eat –whether or not you are a religious person".

    The online campaign to boycott Zomato picked up steam after another food aggregator, Uber Eats, joined the issue and said, they “stand with Zomato”.

    ​Many questioned Zomato for what they termed a “discriminatory” practice by it, because they cater to the religious sensitivity of some other sects.  The #boycottzomato campaign has already hit about 4,300 tweets.

    ​The debate expanded when national leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and a former parliamentarian Baijayant Jay Panda joined the issue saying, “Zomato is right to deny a customer’s request for a delivery person of a different religion. But wrong (and hypocritical) to claim it doesn’t mix religion with food".

    Twitterati trolled the right-wing leader, criticising his partisan view, charging him with taking society back to the “untouchability era”.

    ​Panda was quick to come out with a clarification that he is clearly “against discrimination on the basis of religion".

    ​Founded in 2008, Zomato has grown to become one of India’s leading food delivery services within the span of a decade. It currently operates in 500 Indian cities, employing over 5,000 people providing information and reviews of restaurants, including images of menus on offer. It’s founder Deepender Goyal’s net worth is estimated to be around Rs. 1000 crores or $145.4 million.

    The San Francisco-based online food ordering and delivery platform Uber Eats entered India in early 2017. It has now expanded its operations to 38 cities with a growth rate of 50%, month-on-month. The American ecommerce major, Amazon is in talks with the platform for a potential buyout or a strategic alliance to tap the huge market that India provides.

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    Indian Food Chain Hailed for Standing By Muslim Delivery Man
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    Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), Food, food chain, Amazon, Uber, India
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