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Delhi Golf Club asks Meghalaya woman to leave: Kiren Rijiju calls it racial discrimination, asks police to take action

New Delhi: Union minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday described as a "clear case of racial discrimination" an incident at The Delhi Golf Club, when its staffers asked a woman from Meghalaya to leave a dining room because her traditional Khasi attire looked like a "maid's uniform". He asked Delhi police commissioner Amulya Patnaik to take appropriate action on the 25 June incident, which, he said, also reflected an "elitist mindset".

Rijiju raised the matter with Patnaik after Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma discussed the issue with the minister. "I will also speak to the urban development ministry on how such privileges can be given to people with such mindsets," he said about the Club, which occupies prime land in the heart of the national capital. An incensed Rijiju told reporters no one had the right to judge a person by his or her attire.

 Delhi Golf Club asks Meghalaya woman to leave: Kiren Rijiju calls it racial discrimination, asks police to take action

Tailin Lyngdoh. Image credit: Nivedita Barthakur/Facebook

"It was a clear case of racial discrimination. Such an elitist mindset of some people will destroy the social fabric of the country," he said. The minister of state for home, who is from Arunachal Pradesh, said the incident was "unfortunate and condemnable". "Action should be taken. Merely issuing a statement is not enough," he said.

The Meghalaya woman, Tailin Lyngdoh, was asked to leave the room because the Club's staffers believed her traditional outfit looked like a "maid's uniform", her employer, Nivedita Barthakur Sondhi, told PTI. The club issued a statement on Tuesday, saying it had apologised to the club member who had invited Sondhi and her son's governess, Lyngdoh, to lunch. It also said the incident
was being given a "political and cultural overtone".

Rijiju said Indians often faced discrimination abroad over the colour of their skin. "Many of us create a hue and cry over such incidents," he said. The Delhi Golf Club incident, he added, was also a case of racial discrimination. "It reflected how we treat our own people in our own country," he said.

The Club must accept that it was wrong and act accordingly, he said, adding that there was "no point" in issuing a statement. In its statement, the Delhi Golf Club said the member who had hosted the lunch had "unconditionally" accepted its apology. "It is unfortunate and regrettable that an undesirable attempt is being made to give the incident a political and cultural overtone," the Club said.

It said the Club management immediately investigated the incident. "It has emerged that the incident could have been handled in a much better way by the staff members," it said. "It was also confirmed that the guests were not asked to leave the club premises," the statement said. Sondhi said Lyngdoh, who was wearing a jainsem, a traditional Khasi outfit, was asked to leave by two staffers "who told her she looked like a maid and was not allowed there".

Sondhi added that neither she nor Lyngdoh had been contacted by the Club or received an apology from it. In a Facebook post, she had earlier said, "Lyngdoh, an extremely proud Khasi lady who has travelled the world in her jainsem from London to UAE, was thrown out of The Delhi Golf Club because her dress was taken for a maid's uniform."

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Updated Date: Jun 27, 2017 19:11:06 IST

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