Road safety

Netizens slam road safety ad featuring Akshay Kumar for promoting dot

The premise of the announcement, originally posted by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Twitter on Friday, is to promote the use of six airbags in cars, a move the government wants to implement after the death of the former chairman of Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry.

A government road safety ad campaign featuring actor Akshay Kumar has been denounced by social media users for allegedly promoting the evil of dowry.

The premise of the announcement, originally posted by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Twitter on Friday, is to promote the use of six airbags in cars, a move the government wants to implement after the death of the former chairman of Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry.

The ad begins with a father sobbing as he watches his newly married daughter leave with her husband. Enter Akshay Kumar, who taunts the father saying he deserves to cry when he sends his daughter in such a car. It is only when the father argues that the car is automatic with a sunroof, music system and six speakers, that Kumar says it only has two airbags when it should have six.

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Users objected to the ad’s use of marriage as a context and the normalization of dowry to convey a traffic safety message.

While several users criticized the ad’s creative team for using such backward notions, others denounced the government for deleting such scripts.

“This is such a problematic advertisement. Who is showing such creations? Is the government spending money to promote the safety aspect of a car or to promote the evil and criminal act of dowry through this ad?” Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted.

“Do you realize that you are encouraging the dowry? tweeted another user.

“Only in India would the government spend taxpayers’ money to create an ad campaign promoting a punishable offence, dowry,” another user said.

Saket Gokhale, the national spokesman for the Trinamool Congress, said the government’s “official promotion” of dowry was “disgusting”.

Others accused the government of washing its hands of responsibility by imposing safety on car owners when it should be keeping the roads safe and building better infrastructure for them.

Gadkari recently said rules will be finalized to make six airbags mandatory in all cars by the end of the current fiscal year.

The decision came after Mistry’s death in a car accident forced the government to review safety rules for rear passenger cars.