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.
The Facebook post by Ashish Avikunthak, which triggered an outrage in the social media, said “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 a dhoti (which I have been wearing for the last 26 years). On resisting and questioning I was told that we have ordered because of 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. Private clubs have always created hierarchies and distinctions because of clothing. 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? Please go through my Facebook post which has narrated the entire consequence.”
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. As we argued and Ashish spoke in English the mall officials came 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 said she was video recording the whole incident on her mobile, which the mall authorities objected to. “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 for the person was 20 seconds and after that, he entered the mall. We have video footage of his entry into the mall,” the mall authorities said.
The issue caused outrage in social media which had a large number of posts against the alleged act of the mall’s management.
“Ashish Avikunthak not allowed entry in … Mall because he was wearing a dhoti. Incidentally, mall-keepers were a bit beeped out because the dhoti wearing filmmaker spoke better English. Then they allowed him,” a Facebook post said.