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Accenture & Zoho Draw Social Media Ire, After RSS Announces Heads’ Attendance At Its Chennai Event

Technology giants Accenture and Zoho are facing severe online backlash, after reports of the companies’ top executives participating at an upcoming Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) event in Chennai, surfaced on Twitter.

A flyer posted on Twitter by popular user @YehLog showed that an upcoming event by the IT professionals wing of the radical group in Chennai counted Zoho founder Sridhar Vembu and Accenture MD and head of operations, Chennai, Rama S Ramachandran among key speakers. The event titled ‘Resurgent Bharath’ is due to take place in Chennai on February 2.

Users called out both the companies for their top executives accepting the invitation from an extremist organisation, with one user calling Vembu a “fascist enabler”.

One user said, “Extraordinary: from ambassadors to corporate honchos, crawling on their bellies to pay homage to a violent fascist formation that was banned for so many years.”

Accenture has no other option since it has contracts from the Centre remarked another user. “They don’t have any option. Accenture has so many contracts from states and the central govt, sadly if they want to build their business with the govt, they will have to tow RSS line. Its the dark truth about business in India.”

Another user said, “It is time to avoid companies and their products supporting & strengthening Fascists.”

Vembu, however, was defiant and commented saying that he doesn’t decide his views based on Twitter attacks. “I don’t decide my views based on Twitter attacks. If you dislike which events I attend, please do what your conscience dictates and I will do what mine dictates. We earn our daily bread due to our work and we will continue to do quality work. I won’t be responding to attacks.”

To which a user shot back saying, “When you talk abt earning bread don’t talk abt conscience.. Your actions suggest you sold your conscience to earn your bread”.

Several Twitter users also tagged Accenture CEO Julie Sweet to draw her attention to Ramachandran’s participation in the RSS event. While Accenture didn’t directly respond to the controversy, however, hours later, Ramachandran tweeted saying he “not sure how this misunderstanding happened, but I have no affiliation with this group and never agreed to speak at or attend this event.”

RSS is an extremist militant outfit, associated with orchestrating violent sectarian attacks against religious minorities in India. The outfit has been banned multiple times, including in the aftermath of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. In a communique issued on February 4, 1948, the Central government said it was banning the RSS “to root out the forces of hate and violence that are at work in our country and imperil the freedom of the Nation and darken her fair name”.

RSS has been reaching out to techies since an over a decade now, holding militant training centres called “shakhas” over the weekends in different cities. And this is not the first time top business executives have chosen to appear at an RSS event. In October 2019, Shiv Nadar was the chief guest at an RSS Vijay Dashami event. A day before that Wipro chairman Azim Premji visited RSS founder KB Hedgewar’s memorial and paid tribute. In September 2019, industrialist Rahul Bajaj had also paid homage to the statue of Hedgewar. Tata Sons’ former Chairman Ratan Tata, too, visited the extremist outfit’s headquarters twice within five months.

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