Karan Jani said that despite talking to the organisers in Gujarati, they refused to budge and asked him and his friends to leave.
New Delhi: A renowned Indian-origin astrophysicist and three of his friends were thrown out of a garba venue in Atlanta in the United States on Friday by the organisers who said that their surnames did not “appear to be Hindu”.
Karan Jani, a 29-year-old from Vadodra, who in 2016 had made it to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) team in the US that discovered the gravitational waves, narrated on Facebook and Twitter how he and his friends were “thrown out” of the venue by the organisers at Sri Shakti Mandir.
Jani said that despite talking to the organisers in Gujarati, they refused to budge and asked him and his friends to leave.
He said he had been performing garba at the same venue for the last six years and had never faced any such trouble before.
Narrating his account along with a video on social media, Jani wrote: “Year 2018 & Shakti Mandir in Atlanta, USA, denied me and my friends entry from playing garba because: ‘You don’t look Hindu and last name in your IDs don’t sound Hindu’.”
Jani further claimed that when one of his friends gave the volunteers ID proofs, they said that they would not be allowed as his surname ended with ‘wala’ and it didn’t seem to be a Hindu surname.
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”
Jani tweeted that one of the volunteers told his friend, “We don’t come to your events, you are not allowed to ours.” His friend is Konkani and was attending garba for the first time.
He tweeted that when she told the volunteer that her last name was Murdeshwar and that she was a Kannada-Marathi, the volunteer said: “What is Kannada? You are Ismaili."
My Konkani friend who came to Garba for 1st time *due to enthusiasm of us Gujaratis* was pulled out of line & was told:— Dr. Karan Jani (@AstroKPJ) October 13, 2018
“We don’t come to your events, you are not allowed to ours”
She: “My last name is Murdeshwar. I’m Kannada-Marathi!”
Him: “What is Kannada? You are Ismaili”
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”— Dr. Karan Jani (@AstroKPJ) October 13, 2018
Jani said he had never faced such discrimination “even from the Americans during 12 years of stay here,” The Times of India quoted him as saying.
Jani said he received a call from the temple’s management later and added that the chairman apologised saying the temple doesn’t believe in discrimination. “He said it was miscommunication on the part of the volunteer. But the treatment meted out to us was embarrassing,” Jani said.