Abhishek Mishra, the Lucknow man and a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activist who received flak on Twitter for cancelling his Ola cab ride because the driver was Muslim, is followed on the microblogging site by Union ministers from Narendra Modi's Cabinet including Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Mishra, who described himself on his verified Twitter handle as a "Hindutva Thinker, digital and social media advisor, Vishwa Hindu Parishad", had tweeted a screenshot of an Ola ride booked and wrote: "Cancelled @Olacabs Booking because Driver was Muslim. I don't want to give my money to Jihadi People."
— Abhishek Mishra (@Abhishek_Mshra) April 20, 2018
As of Monday morning, the post had received 1,700 likes and was retweeted 917 times. On his Facebook profile, Mishra describes himself as a social media advisor for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad with 810 followers, while adding "No compromise with Ideology". According to NDTV, he claimed to be an active member of the VHP and Bajrang Dal, which are both affiliates of the Bharatiya Janata Party's ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The report also added that Mishra claimed he "holds responsibility" of the IT cell of VHP. Spokesperson of VHP, Sharad Sharma, confirmed to The Indian Express that Mishra was a member of the organisation. However, Sharma distanced himself from his tweet and said his opinion is personal. On his Twitter profile, Mishra added a disclaimer saying "Views Personal". The Indian Express report also quoted Uttar Pradesh transport minister Swatantra Dev Singh, who was seen shaking hands with Mishra in a photo on social media, as saying that he was one of the 400 people who worked in the office. "He forwards online grievances from the redressal portal to our department. He is not a government employee."
The state minister also added that hundreds of people came to meet him daily but it didn't mean he or the department subscribed to his views. Mishra's tweet was reported on Twitter, but the microblogging site said it could not identify any violations of Twitter rules or the laws applicable.
Mishra attempted rebuttal of charges against him in another tweet where he posted a screenshot of an old Facebook post where a user named Resmi R Nair said she was afraid to ride Uber cabs with "belligerent" Hindutva symbols such as Rudra Hanuman, in light of BJP ministers supporting the accused in the Kathua rape case. Mishra wrote: "If this views acceptable then why my views are not acceptable ?"
If this views acceptable then why my views are not acceptable ? pic.twitter.com/170MWQuBpn
— Abhishek Mishra (@Abhishek_Mshra) April 22, 2018
Ola condemned Mishra's tweet and said, "The company does not subscribe to the views of individuals who want to create disharmony by using our platform."
Ola, like our country, is a secular platform, and we don't discriminate our driver partners or customers basis their caste, religion, gender or creed. We urge all our customers and driver partners to treat each other with respect at all times. — Ola (@Olacabs) April 22, 2018
Updated Date: Apr 23, 2018 08:25 AM