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'We don’t come to your events, you aren't allowed to ours': Astrophysicist Karan Jani accuses US temple officials of religious bias

Astrophysicist Karan Jani has alleged on Twitter that a temple in USA' Atlanta, Shakti Mandir, denied him and his friends entry to play garba and celebrate the Hindu festival of Navratri as the temple officials couldn't identify them as Hindus. "You don’t look Hindu and the last name in your IDs don’t sound Hindu," the temple officials told Jani and his friends.

 We don’t come to your events, you arent allowed to ours: Astrophysicist Karan Jani accuses US temple officials of religious bias

File image of Karan Jani. Image courtesy: Twitter @AstroKPJ

Jani has further tweeted that his Konkani friend, who came to play garba for the first time due to the enthusiasm shown by her Gujarati peers, was pulled out of the queue and told, "We don’t come to your events, you are not allowed to ours." And when she argued that her name was "Murdeshwar" and that she was a "Kannada-Marathi", one of the organisers told her, "What is Kannada? You are Ismaili."

Jani has further claimed even though he and his friends spoke in Gujarati to the organisers and one of the group member even had a Gujarati surname, yet they were told by the organisers that they were “Vohra, Sindhis”. "They actually kept stating other religions.... Ganged up and told us to leave," Jani has alleged. Jani has also mentioned that how, while this was happening with his friends, other Indians were being allowed to enter.

"Our IDs had the Indian Emblem. Yes, emblem with 'Satyamev Jayate' right? Apparently, it didn’t have our religion. Our caste. It was embarrassing," Jani tweeted. He has recounted that how he was in tears as he told the organisers: "I come here to play garba for the last 6 years. How could you not let us in because of the last name?"

However, Jani has mentioned in reply to another Twitter user's comments on his thread that he has been going to the temple for the past six years and that it was "equally shocking and embarrassing" for him to have faced this behaviour now.

"I was told by that organiser, a senior person, things in Gujarati which are so crude and demeaning that it can’t be shared on the public forum. Just to ensure we don’t dare to enter the temple again. Such fuss just for garba in Navratri — with friends — to celebrate the Indian culture," Jani wrote.

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Updated Date: Oct 17, 2018 12:45:28 IST

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