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Hindu Nationalists Are Boycotting Amazon For Signing Up An Actress Who Spoke Out Against Child Rape

I can't believe I'm writing this headline but this is what things have come to.

Last updated on July 25, 2018, at 5:17 a.m. ET

Posted on April 21, 2018, at 12:26 p.m. ET

This is Swara Bhaskar, an Indian actress who recently protested against the brutal rape and murder of an 8-year-old Muslim girl in a Hindu temple in the country.

The girl belonged to the Bakarwal community, a nomadic pastoral tribe who are primarily Sunni Muslims. Her alleged rapists and murderers were right-wing Hindus — a fact that has pitted India’s nationalist Hindus, who support Prime Minister Narendra Modi, against the rest of the country. Hindu hardliner lawyers, for instance, tried to stop officials from taking the accused to court, and chanted pro-Hindu slogans.

On Friday, Hindu nationalists slammed Amazon India for signing up Bhaskar for a promotional campaign.

I cancelled my order on amazon right now just after knowing that amazon has business relations with @ReallySwara #BoycottAmazon

Twitter: @_iRajput / Via Twitter: @_iRajput

I don't have an @amazonIN app installed, but I refuse to buy anything from Amazon till it stops associating with activist-for-hire @ReallySwara, who insulted my country and my temples! #BoycottAmazon

Twitter: @ShefVaidya / Via Twitter: @ShefVaidya

@amazonIN I've downrated you on playstore and will not be renewing my prime membership till you guys disassociate yourself from the Hindu hater Swara Bhaskar. @ShefVaidya #BoycottAmazon

Twitter: @Adityadamle / Via Twitter: @Adityadamle

@India_Policy ..and here goes amazon prime too. #BoycottAmazonIn #BoycottAmazon

And they celebrated when Amazon India deleted a tweet featuring Bhaskar's promo.

@amazonIN @ReallySwara Good for Amazon!

Twitter: @India_Policy / Via Twitter: @India_Policy

Amazon did not respond to BuzzFeed News' query about whether the company deleted the tweet because of the backlash. Bhaskar did not respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

Some of them also left one-star ratings on Amazon's app in the Indian Google Play store, and left outraged comments as app reviews.

Google Play Store

And yet, amid the chaos, a few sane voices still managed to make themselves heard.

Hi @amazonIN, you don’t need users who boycott you for signing up a woman who condemns rape. If you discontinue your association with her because a few people deleted the app over hurt sentiments, you will lose respect of a far greater base of sensible Indians.

Twitter: @MasalaBai / Via Twitter: @MasalaBai

This isn't the first time angry Indians have lashed out against Western technology companies. Here's what happened last year:

* Furious Indians downrated Amazon's app because the company was selling doormats with the Indian flag on them in Canada (touching something with one's feet is considered a sign of disrespect in India).

* Pissed off Indians downrated Snapchat after its CEO allegedly called the country "poor."

That probably explains why most American tech companies prefer to play it extra safe when it comes to India.


This post was updated on July 25, 2018 to remove all mentions of the victim's name in compliance with Indian law.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.