An Indian scientist in the US has said he and his friends were denied entry at a garba event in Atlanta. The scientist and his friends, who had gone to celebrate Navratri, were allegedly told by the organisers that they don't "look Hindu" and that their last names don't "sound Hindu".
An astrophysicist from Vadodara, Gujarat, Dr Karan Jani took to social media on Friday night, posting a video which shows one of the temple officials asking them to leave the event. "Year 2018 and Shakti Mandir in Atlanta, USA denied me and my friends entry from playing garba because: 'You dont look Hindu and last name in your IDs dont sound Hindu," he said on Twitter.
Dr Jani also said that one of his friends, who came to the event for the first time, was pulled out of the line and told "We don't come to your events, you are not allowed to ours". When she told the official that her "last name is Murdeshwar. I'm Kannada-Marathi," the official replied, "What is Kannada? You are Ismaili".
The astrophysicist said that even though they spoke in Gujarati, the temple organisers "ganged up and told us to leave". In a twitter thread, Dr Jani further said, "Our IDs had Indian Emblem. Yes emblem with "Satyamev Jayate" right? Apparently, it didn't have our religion. Our caste. It was embarrassing. I had tears in my eyes saying them: "I come here to play Garba for last 6 years. How could you not let us in because of last name".
Year 2018 & Shakti Mandir in Atlanta, USA denied me and my friends entry from playing garba because:- Dr. Karan Jani (@AstroKPJ) October 13, 2018
"You don’t look Hindu and last name in your IDs don’t sound Hindu"
Speaking to reporters, Dr Jani's father Pankaj Jani in Vadodara said, "Volunteers stopped him and told him he does not look like a Hindu and even his surname does not appear to be that of a Hindu. They checked his ID which had the national emblem on it. Despite that, he was asked to leave. Later he talked to me over phone and sounded nervous," according to news agency PTI. "He is a Gujarati and that too from Vadodara. Garba has a special place in our country," he said.
(with inputs from agencies)