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NCSC issues notice to Zomato for ‘casteist’ advertisement

New Delhi: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has issued a notice to online food delivery aggregator Zomato for a ‘casteist’ advertisement.

Following direction from NCSC Chairman Vijay Sampla, a notice was also served to Delhi Police to submit an immediate action-taken report.

Zomato had to take down the advertisement which depicted an actor who played the Dalit character ‘Kachra’ in the film ‘Lagaan’ as items made of recycled waste.

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The NCSC received information from an English daily and social media regarding Zomato’s advertisement on YouTube, which was aired on World Environment Day on June 5.

In the advertisement, actor Aditya Lakhia, who played the Dalit character in the 2001 movie ‘Lagaan’, was portrayed as a lamp, paper, paperweight, watering can, and various types of jackets, conveying the message that garbage can be recycled and turned into useful items.

“When recycled, ‘kachra’ can become many things,” Zomato told the viewers through the advertisement that drew parallels between the character Kachra and ‘kachra’ (meaning garbage).

However, Zomato had apologised for the advertisement, saying that the intent was to “spread awareness about the potential of plastic waste and benefits of recycling in a humorous way”.

Meanwhile, the NCSC has asked the Commissioner of Police and the resident grievance officer for YouTube to investigate the matter and submit the action-taken report immediately through post or email based on the facts.

Sampla cautioned the officers that if the action-taken report is not received within the stipulated time, the commission might exercise the powers of the civil court conferred on it under Article 338 of the Constitution of India and issue a summon for personal appearance before the commission in Delhi.

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