Two men from Nagaland were denied entry at the grocery store of a large retail chain in Karnataka's Mysuru after the staff allegedly insisted they were Chinese nationals, amid the scare over the COVID-19 pandemic that has necessitated a pan-India lockdown, leading to people making a run for essential items.
The Mysuru City Police tweeted it has filed a First Information Report into the incident and has taken the store's manager and the staff into custody.
In a video taken by one of the two men from Nagaland, they are heard requesting the staff of More Megastore to let them in. The staff, wearing masks and with gloves, refuse to let them in.
"We are also human beings like you. Why are you stopping us? We are showing you our Aadhaar cards," the men are heard saying in the video.
Within minutes, another employee of More Megastore, a unit of More Retail Limited, comes out and tries to snatch the mobile phone after warning the man not to record the video. People who are shopping at the store look on and do not intervene.
The two men said they had gone to the store to buy groceries.
"A video showing discrimination against Naga migrants in a More outlet was noticed in Mysuru and immediately FIR has been lodged in Krishnaraja police station and the Manager and staff of the outlet have been taken to custody. We urge people and shop owners/staff to desist from doing such acts and behave responsibly in this time of crisis," Mysuru City Police tweeted.
More Megastores tweeted it does not accept discrimination of any kind in its stores. "More Retail does not accept discrimination of any kind in its stores. Our stores are open to all citizens of the country. This incident will be immediately investigated. We adhere to all the norms of State & Central Authorities and also request all the customers to follow the same," More Megastores tweeted.
More Retail does not accept discrimination of any kind in its stores.Our stores are open to all citizens of the country.This incident will be immediately investigated. We adhere to all the norms of State & Central Authorities and also request all the customers to follow the same.— More Store (@moremegastores) March 29, 2020
The country is under a three-week lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected at a seafood market in China's Wuhan in December last year.
Reports of harassment of people from the north-east states have surfaced from some cities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A 40-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly spitting paan at a woman from the north-east and calling her "coronavirus" in Delhi.
Bengaluru Police chief Bhaskar Rao tweeted action will be taken against harassment of people from the north-east. "Some misguided persons have made unwanted Covid 19 remarks against our brethren from NorthEastern States. These misguided will be dealt with very sternly. Brothers & Sisters from NorthEast, you are secure here, approach nearest Police station or Me directly Live Fearless," he tweeted.
Some misguided persons have made unwanted Covid 19 remarks against our brethren from NorthEastern States. These misguided will be dealt with very sternly.Brothers & Sisters from NorthEast, you are secure here, approach nearest Policestation or Me directly Live Fearless.— Bhaskar Rao IPS (@deepolice12) March 29, 2020
The Home Ministry has written to the states and Union Territories, asking them to take action against those who are harassing people from the north-east during the lockdown.