DMK leader Kanimozhi has asked Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami for the Tamil Nadu government’s stand on the controversy over an advertisement for Tanishq, as it is the ‘major shareholder’ in the company that owns the brand.
“TN government is a major shareholder in @TanishqJewelry. TN is a state which had always stood for secularism. What is the stand of @CMOTamilNadu on the controversy surrounding the advertisement of Tanishq?” Kanimozhi said in a tweet.
Tanishq is owned by Titan, a joint venture between the Tata Group and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO), an entity owned by the state government. TIDCO is the biggest shareholder of Titan with a 28 per cent stake, while the Tatas own 25 per cent. The remaining stake is held by foreign institutional investors, mutual funds and the general public.
The company’s board has three IAS officers from the state government. Industries Department Principal Secretary N. Muruganandam is the chairman while Additional Secretaries Arun Roy and Kakarla Usha are directors. The Tatas are represented by N.N. Tata, who is the vice-chairman; Bhaskar Bhat, a director; and C.K. Venkataraman, who is the managing director.
According to state government officials, the management, and not the board of directors, decides on ad campaigns.
Tanishq had released an advertisement for a new line of jewellery that showed Hindu rituals being arranged for a pregnant woman by her Muslim mother-in-law. The ad came under attack from right-wing activists, who alleged that the commercial promoted ‘love jihad.’
‘Love jihad’ is the term given to the alleged conspiracy of Muslim men to convert Hindu women by marrying them.
Following the controversy, Tanishq removed the ad in view of the ‘hurt’ sentiments and to ensure the well-being of its employees, partners and store employees.
On Wednesday, there were reports of a Tanishq showroom in Gujarat being attacked by Hindu activists. The police, however, rubbished the reports saying the news was fake.