India’s biggest restaurant chain, Hari Nizam, has become the latest restaurant to be banned from using a word in its advertisements, following complaints that it was offensive.
The ban, announced by Hari, comes a day after a group of men wearing masks took over a restaurant in Ahmedabad, allegedly asking customers to “vote” for the party that would be “best for India”.
The men shouted “Vote for Hari!” before entering the restaurant and ordering food from the menu.
When asked about the ban, a Hari spokesperson said, “Our motto is ‘Make India great again’.”
The spokesperson said the word was used in reference to the Prime Minister’s son, Narendra Modi, and was “misconstrued as being offensive”.
“We apologise to all our customers who were offended,” the spokesperson said.
The restaurant chain is owned by the Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, which is one of India’s largest employers.
The Hari spokesman said the use of the word in advertising had been in the works for some time and that it had been banned because of “inappropriate language and inappropriate behaviour”.
“In the context of the recent election, we are keen to ensure that our brand is not used to hurt the sentiments of any particular group,” the spokesman said.
In April, the Supreme Court struck down a ban on the use by a Hindu group of the words “sarv” (father) and “sadhus” (son).
However, the court also said that “sartre” and “vegetarian” were not words that were used to refer to the Prophet Mohammed and that they should not be used in advertising.
India’s government is currently investigating a number of cases of the “sarna” protest movement, a campaign that has taken place in many parts of the country since March, which has been seen as a backlash against the imposition of a ban by the government.