Khasi woman asked to leave plush Delhi club for wearing traditional outfit

Clear case of racial discrimination, says Rijiju
Report by: 
27 Jun 2017

A woman from Meghalaya was asked to leave the dining room of a plush Delhi club for wearing a traditional Khasi outfit which its staffers believed looked like a "maid's uniform", her employer said today.
Tailin Lyngdoh, who was wearing a jainsem, traditionally worn by Khasi women, was invited with the employer, Dr Nivedita Barthakur Sondhi, to a lunch hosted by a member of The Delhi Golf Club in the heart of the capital on June 25. "Two staffers came to Lyngdoh and told her she looked like a maid and was not allowed there," Sondhi told news agency PTI. The inference was that she was dressed differently and her clothes made her "look like a maid", Sondhi added. Lyngdoh told newspersons 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.
Lyngdoh, who is Sondhi's son's governess, said she had travelled to many places but had never heard such a remark. "Everybody has complimented me on my traditional dress and nobody has ever said such a thing to me," she said. 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," the Khasi woman 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". "Disciplinary action is in process," it said. The club said "an apology has been made" to the member whose guest Lyngdoh was. "This has been unconditionally accepted. It was also confirmed that the guests were not asked to leave the club premises," the statement said. Sondhi, however, said neither she nor Lyngdoh had been contacted by the club or received an apology from it.
Union minister Kiren Rijiju today described as a "clear case of racial discrimination" the incident at The Delhi Golf Club. Rijiju asked Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to take appropriate action on the June 25 incident, which, he said, also reflected an "elitist mindset". The minister 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.