A Kolkata-based filmmaker has claimed that he was stopped from entering a city mall yesterday because he was wearing a dhoti, but the mall authorities have denied the allegation.
Ashish Avikunthak’s Facebook post, which in social media triggered an outrage, said that "Denying entry into the neo-colonial clubs of Kolkata is nothing new. But today I was denied entry into the .... mall because I was wearing dhoti (which I have been wearing for the last 26 years). I was told while resisting and questioning that we have orders because of the security reasons to prohibit entry of people in lungi and dhoti. I was eventually allowed in because I could argue in English and assert myself."
"This is unambiguously a new low for this city. Because of clothes the issue has always been created by the Private clubs. Now public spaces are also threatened and a culture of segregation based on class is being practiced unhindered. I write this with a sense of deep disgust," he said.
When contacted Mr Avikunthak told PTI, "What have I to say about the whole incident? On my Facebook post which has narrated the entire consequence, please go through it once."
Mr Avikunthak's companion Debaleena Sen told PTI, "We were about to enter the mall when Ashish was stopped by security guards who said he can't be allowed inside since he was wearing a dhoti. Ashish spoke in English with the mall officials came in and spoke in English and allowed him in."
"Probably after hearing him speak in English they were assured that he belonged to higher social profile and can be allowed in. We immediately came out in protest."
Ms Sen was recording the video on her mobile the whole incident, which the mall authorities objected too. "This shows they want to hide their racist attitude," she said.
The mall authorities when contacted denied the allegations. They said the security personnel at the gate, who form the first ring of security at the mall, had asked the film director to wait and went to the supervisor to seek his opinion. He was then allowed in.
"The total waiting period was 20 second for the person and after that he entered the mall. We have video footage of his entry into the mall," the mall authorities said.