The Ministry of Urban Development has sought a factual report from the Delhi Golf Club over its staffers asking a woman from Meghalaya to leave a dining room because her traditional Khasi attire looked like a “maid’s uniform”. Earlier in the day, Union minister Kiren Rijiju had directed Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to take appropriate action on the incident terming it as a “clear case of racial discrimination”. Dubbing the incident as “regrettable and unfortunate”, a senior official in the urban development ministry said, “We have sought a report from the club authorities. Appropriate action will be initiated if the club is found violating human rights norms”. Meanwhile, 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. Tailin Lyngdoh, who was wearing a jainsem, traditionally worn by Khasi women, was invited with her employer Nivedita Barthakur Sondhi to a lunch hosted by a member of the Delhi Golf Club on June 25. According to Sondhi, two staffers approached Lyngdoh and told her she looked like a maid and was not allowed there. Lyngdoh said she was asked to leave while they were having lunch. “The manager said, ‘It is not allowed, so you must go out.’ I went out, but it was very sad for me to hear such a thing,” she said.
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In a statement issued later, the club said it had apologised to the member who had hosted the lunch, while maintaining that the guests had not been asked to leave the club premises. In a Facebook post, Sondhi 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!” Though she was at the lunch as an invitee, she was “humiliated”, Sondhi wrote. The “two gatekeepers” did not apologise to her, she said.
“It is appalling that a citizen of India is judged on her dress and treated as a pariah,” she wrote. The club in its statement said the incident could have been “handled better” by a staff member, who has been asked to give an “explanation”. The club said “an apology has been made” to the member whose guest Lyngdoh was. Sondhi, however, said neither she nor Lyngdoh had been contacted by the club or received an apology from it.