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Uber bans Hindu woman 'Swastika' Chandra, calls her name 'offensive', later apologises

Jaya Vishwakarma
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Uber bans Hindu woman

American ride-hailing giant Uber banned a 35-year-old woman named Swastika Chandra from Sydney, Australia, from using its services because her first name was flagged as "potentially offensive" due to its associations with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party.

However, Chandra explained that in Sanskrit, her name means 'good luck' and that it is common in Fiji, where she grew up. According to news.com.au, Chandra became aware of the ban when she attempted to order from Uber Eats and received a message instructing her to change her name on the app.

“I was putting in an order for food one afternoon and went to the payment stage and this pop-up came up saying, ‘Your first name is in violation and you need to change your name on the app,’” she told A Current Affair, an Australian TV programme.


Despite the negative associations, Chandra expressed pride in her name and refused to change it, noting that she uses it on all her official Australian documents without issue.

“They don’t know that the Hindus used it for thousands of years before Hitler used it in the wrong way,” she said.

The ban lasted five months until the Hindu Council and the New South Wales attorney-general intervened, leading to the reinstatement of her Uber account, ACA reported. The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies also backed Chandra.

Uber issues apology

The ride-hailing giant, in a statement to news.com.au, issued an apology and acknowledged that their review of the issue had taken longer than expected. The company explained that it has a global policy to restrict access when names entered in the app contain potentially offensive words. 

“Uber is committed to facilitating a safe and welcoming environment for all users. For that reason, Uber has a global policy of restricting access to users whose names entered into the Uber app contain potentially offensive words," the company said.

“We understand that there are different cultural nuances to names, and therefore our teams address incidents like this on a case-by-case basis to ensure we evaluate each account fairly. In this case, after reviewing Ms Chandra’s request, we reinstated her access to the app."

“We have apologised to Ms Chandra for the inconvenience this caused her, and we appreciate her patience as we reviewed the matter, which took longer than we hoped it would," it added.