Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar said followers of Islam had ‘terrorised’ Hindus for 2,000 years.
A five-star hotel in Dubai has sacked famous international chef of Indian-origin Atul Kochhar after he tweeted that followers of Islam had “terrorised” Hindus for 2,000 years.
The comments were made after a recent Priyanka Chopra starrer action series depicted a terrorist plot hatched by a group of Hindu extremists, provoking outrage in India. Chopra apologised for the storyline at the weekend.
“It’s sad to see that you [Chopra] have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorised by Islam over 2000 years. Shame on You,” Kochhar, the London-based Michelin-starred chef reacted to the Quantico episode.
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Kochhar is associated with the Rang Mahal restaurant in Dubai as well as five others in the UK and Spain, The Guardian reported.
He deleted the tweet the following day and apologised. “There is no justification for my tweet, a major error made in the heat of the moment on Sunday,” he tweeted.
“I fully recognise my inaccuracies that Islam was founded around 1,400 years ago and I sincerely apologise. I am not Islamophobic, I deeply regret my comments that have offended many,” he said in another apology on Twitter.
The apologies followed a flood of outrage on social media including threats to boycott his Dubai restaurant and the JW Marriott Marquis hotel that houses it.
However, despite the apologies the hotel announced on Wednesday afternoon it was terminating its relationship with the Indian-born chef, who has appeared in MasterChef in the UK and India.
“Following the recent comments made by chef Atul Kochhar, we have taken the decision to end our agreement with him for Rang Mahal,” said a spokesperson for Marriott Dubai. “At the JW Marriott Marquis hotel Dubai we pride ourselves on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion for our guests and associates across the hotel and our restaurants.”
Kochhar, in a statement issued earlier today, said the decision by is “deeply upsetting, however I fully accept the great pain I have caused and the difficult position the hotel has been put in.
“I have great respect for JW Marriott and in particular their staff in Dubai and wish the hotel well for the future. I hope my friends and well-wishers in Dubai will forgive me and continue to support me in the future.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who belongs to a Hindu nationalist party BJP, had told parliament after assuming power in 2014 that the country needed to throw off its ‘slave mentality of 1,200 years’, in a reference to the period of Mughal and British rule