Reliance tenders apology to Sikhs over SMS row

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Lucknow, Dec 4 (UNI) Telecom service provider Reliance Communications today tendered an unconditional apology to the Sikh community after the latter took exception to a mobile joke.

''We at Reliance Communications respect the religious sentiments of all countrymen as also that of our valued subscribers and while regretting the incident have no hesitation in tendering sincere apology for any hurt to the sentiments of our Sikh brothers,'' a Reliance Communication spokesperson said today.

He, however, made it clear that the SMS jokes were provided by a third party vendor to the subscribers of telecom operators on a subscription basis. ''....therefore, the vendor is responsible for the content provided. The vendor has already apologised to the subscribers as also to the party,'' he said.

Last night, a case under section 295 (a) of IPC was registered by Naka Gurudwara Management Committee head Rajendra Singh Bagga against Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group chairperson Anil Ambani along with four senior Reliance Communication officials for hurting the religious sentiments of Sikhs.

Mr Bagga had reportedly received an 'objectionable' and 'humiliating' short messaging service (SMS) from a Reliance cellphone.

Others, who had been booked comprised Reliance Communication Managing Director, Reliance Communication North-India Head, UP Reliance Communication Chief and regional manager.

Meanwhile, irate over the incident, UP Sikh Pratinidhi Mandal president Rajendra Singh Dua took to street in the busy Charbagh area of the city this afternoon and burnt Anil Ambani in effigy.

He said ''even though, Reliance Communications has tendered an unconditional apology, I want Anil Dhirubhai Ambani chairperson to apologise personally.'' Terming the joke derogatory, Naka Gurudwara Management Committee had threatened to launch a mass protest, if the mobile operator did not withdraw the joke and tender an apology.

The Committee head had noted that ''its condemnable act on the part of mobile operator and people who think that way. If an apology is not tendered soon, Sikhs would take to streets and stage dharnas outside the cellphone outlets.'' Meanwhile, a senior Reliance official said that agitating parties have accepted the apology and added, the matter should be treated as closed.

UNI

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