Pashmina ad: Kashmir commerce body sends legal notice to Idea


idea_addSrinagar: Two days after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah termed the advertisement by Idea Cellular on Pashmina Shawls as wrong and misleading, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has sent a legal notice to the telecom major seeking immediate withdrawal of the controversial ad and payment of Rs 400 crore as compensation. The notice was sent by KCCI lawyer Azharul Amin to Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, Kumar Mangalam Birla, and Idea Cellular through Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Rajat Mukharji yesterday. The notice has demanded that Idea Cellular immediately withdraw the advertisement and stop its telecast forthwith and publish and telecast apologies at prime time as many times as this advertisement has been telecast. The KCCI has also sought Rs 300 crore “for loss of business and reputation” and another Rs 100 crore for “suffering pain and agony”
“Your advertisement has adversely affected the fitness of our traders to conduct their business and trade especially Pashmina Shawl, which has caused unquantifiable loss of business to our manufacturers and traders. The loss at present cannot be quantified as loss and damage is incessant and recurring,” said the notice adding “your advertisement is premeditated and intentional effort to undermine and /or damage the reputation of Kashmiri traders”. Reacting to the notice, Idea Cellular, in a statement said: “The advertisement is part of an ongoing series showing different situations where the use of mobile telephony services is shown to empower the common people.” “As a responsible organisation and brand, we always do thorough research and due-diligence prior to undertaking any customer communication.” “In this case too, we verified the accuracy of our claim prior to finalising the campaign. We have written to the Hon’ble CM of J&K clarifying our position on the advertisement and confirm that the ring test is valid on Pashmina shawls”, said the company statement.
The telecom company has come out with a series of advertisements promoting use of internet on mobile phone. One such advertisement claims that a Pashmina shawl has to pass through a ring worn on a finger as a mark of genuineness of the product. Omar hit out at the telecom company for coming out with a misleading advertisement about Pashmina shawls, which is major handicraft product from the valley. “Dear ideacellular your ad (advertisement) is wrong & totally misleading. Pashmina shawls aren’t supposed to pass a ring test, that’s a Shatoosh shawl,” Omar wrote on Twitter. Selling or buying of Shahtoosh was made illegal in all countries that signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Many countries including India are cracking down on those involved in the Shahtoosh trade.