Dabur India Limited, a consumer goods company, has withdrawn an advertisement featuring a lesbian couple celebrating the Hindu festival of Karwa Chauth, hours after Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra criticised it for showing "objectionable content" and said legal steps would be taken if the advertisement was not withdrawn.
Narottam Mishra, while addressing mediapersons on Monday, said, "It is a serious matter. Why clippings and advertisements are posted hurting the sentiments related to the Hindu festivals."
"Today, they are showing two women celebrating Karva Chauth. Tomorrow, they will come up with an advertisement that shows two men getting married. We object to it," the state Home Minister had said.
The advertisement for Dabur's beauty brand Fem showed two women performing the customary ritual between couples that involves looking at each other through a sieve.
"Dabur and Fem as a brand strive for diversity, inclusion and equality, and we proudly support these values in our organisation and within our communities. Our campaigns too reflect the same. We understand that not everyone will agree with our stance, and we respect their right to hold a different point of view," Dabur said in a statement on Monday.
"Our intention is not to offend any beliefs, customs and traditions, religious or otherwise. If we have hurt the sentiments of any individual or group, it was unintentional, and we apologise. We are also humbled by everyone who has showered their support for the brand and the campaign," the statement added.
"Fem's Karwa Chauth campaign has been withdrawn from all social media handles and we unconditionally apologise for unintentionally hurting people's sentiments," it added.