In what is being seen as a case of discrimination against the people of North East, a woman from Meghalaya was asked by the staff of The Delhi Gold Club to leave the premises on Sunday because her traditional Khasi attire looked like a "maid's uniform".
Tailin Lyngdoh, who works as a governess, had gone to the club with her employer, Nivedita Barthakur Sondhi, to attend a luncheon they were invited for.
Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma discussed the incident with Union minister Kiren Rijiju and urged him to file a case against the DGC. "We strongly condemn the racial behaviour of the people who do not understand the very spirit of the inclusiveness of this nation," Sangma said.
When apprised of the incident, Rijiju said that it was a "clear case of racial discrimination". He also asked Delhi police commissioner Amulya Patnaik to take appropriate action.
I've asked Delhi Police Commissioner to follow up the case seriously. Discrimination of any form is not good for India. It must end. https://t.co/Ex9nZR26xJ
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) June 27, 2017
An incensed Rijiju also said that no one had the right to judge a person by his or her attire. "It was a clear case of racial discrimination. Such elitist mindset of some people will destroy the social fabric of the country," he said. He also termed the statement issued by the club as pointless.
The club issued a statement on its part to seek an apology. 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 further said that the club management investigated the matter and "it has emerged that the incident could have been handled in a much better way by the staff members." It, however, dismissed reports that Lyngdoh was asked to leave. Rijiju slammed the club for issuing the statement and said that the club must accept it was wrong.
Meanwhile, Barthakur said that neither she nor Lyngdoh had been contacted by the club or received an apology from it. Her husband, Vivekanand Lal Sondhi, said that it was time the old institutions let their beliefs go, reported ANI.
Lyngdoh has been with the Sondhi family since 2007 and travelled with them wherever they went. "It was 2007 when I handed over my child to her and that was it, she became family," The Indian Express quoted Barthakur as saying.
"I have five children of my own and have spent years looking after others. Many of them have children of their own now," Lyngdoh said, adding that she has walked through airports and on the streets of London in her 'Jainsem' but has never faced any trouble.
Barthakur is an entrepreneur and health advisor to the government of Assam. She was invited for lunch on Sunday by her friend, who is a member of the DGC. However, 15-20 minutes into the lunch, two club officials asked Lyngdoh to leave as her attire resembled a "maid's uniform" and they also allegedly hurled racial abuse at her.
Visibly disturbed by the incident, Lyngdoh said, "I have travelled almost all over the world and several parts of India and eaten food in the best hotels and clubs. But no one has hurled abuses on me or commented on my dress."
Lyngdoh hails from Meghalaya's Langtor village in Mairaing civil sub-division.
"I am astounded over the Delhi Golf Club episode. It was a bitter experience for me and Nivedita and everyone out there. You cannot judge a person by what she wears and call someone a dustbin," she added.
Her employer Barthakur called it a case of "North Indian bigotry, chauvinism and ignorance" in a Facebook post.
Updated Date: Jun 28, 2017 14:42 PM