A popular Indian-origin chef in the United Arab Emirates has landed in a controversy after he allegedly posted an anti-Islam tweet, triggering calls for his sacking, a media report said on Tuesday, 12 June.
Atul Kochhar, a Michelin-Star chef well-known in Dubai for his ‘Rang Mahal’ Indian restaurant at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel, received flak after taking a dig at Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra for her tweet over an episode in American television series ‘Quantico’ that purportedly portrayed Hindu nationalists as terrorists, the Khaleej Times reported.
“It’s sad to see that you (Priyanka) have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorized by Islam over 2000 years.
Shame on You (sic),” Kochhar tweeted.
He later deleted the tweet and apologised for the “major error” that was “made in the heat of the moment on Sunday”, again on Twitter.
Later on Tuesday, 12 June, Kochhar again took to Twitter to express his regret over his earlier tweet.
Kochhar Could Face Prosecution: Report
Meanwhile, according to Arab News, Kochhar could also be prosecuted for his tweet.
Speaking to the news organisation, Dubai-based lawyer Yamini Rajesh said that the UAE’s anti-discriminatory law criminialises discrimination in all forms based on religion, faith, race, or colour and if convicted the punishment could mean imprisonment up to five years, and a fine ranging anywhere between 500,000 to 1 million dirhams.
Rajesh added that the employer too could face legal action, over Kochhar’s tweet, as UAE law holds the employer accountable for the actions of the employees.
JW Marriot hotel, however, has distanced itself from the chef’s comments.
Calls for Sacking Kochhar Flood Social Media
Kochhar’s anti-Islam tweet created a furore on social media, with twitterati calling for firing the chef.
Popular commentator and Arab journalist Khaled Almaeena tweeted:
Some said they would boycott the restaurant. “Chef celebrity showed his true colours. I won’t eat here after reading the racist tweets by the head chef,” a UAE resident posted on his Facebook page.
“I have cancelled my wedding anniversary meal for next month at your restaurant. You knew exactly what you meant as you tweeted that message,” another Twitter user added.