Hyderabad Store Refuses Two Manipuri Men Entry, Manager Detained

Hyderabad police have registered a case against the management of a supermarket

3 min read

Hyderabad Police have registered a case against the management of a supermarket in the city, after it refused entry to two natives of Manipur. The entire episode was caught on camera and went viral on social media. It not only caught the attention of the police but also Union minister Kiren Rijiju.

Following this, two employees of the supermarket have been detained.

The incident is said to have taken place on Wednesday, 9 April, at Star Market outlet in Vanasthalipuram. The two citizens from the Northeast, despite showing their identity cards and even communicating to the guards in Hindi, were asked to turn back claiming “they looked like foreigners.”

‘Speak Telugu’

In the video, the two men could be heard telling the guard that they were in the store to buy groceries and they shouldn’t be discriminated against just because their faces looked different. To which, the guard is seen asking them to move aside, saying customers are being inconvenienced.

The guard also took the help of another customer to translate what the two men, who were speaking in English, were saying and later told the customer to tell the duo that they were not allowed. When the two men started speaking in Hindi, in an attempt to convince the guard, he can be hear saying, “speak in Telugu.”

The guard argued that he was merely following orders and there was no point in arguing with him.

Talking to The News Minute, one of the victims, Angam Weapon, said: “The security guards harassed us for almost 10 minutes, despite us proving that we are Indian nationals. They just wanted us to leave, so they kept saying that we should talk to the manager. When we asked them where he was and when he would come, they said after one hour.”

“As we couldn’t argue with them, we had to leave the store without buying any vegetables,” Angam shared.

Video Gets Minister’s Attention

A twitter user Jonah (@jtrichao), who identified as a friend of the two men who faced the discrimination, posted the video on Twitter and wrote: “Two of my friends were denied entry today to buy groceries at Starmarket Vanastalipuram,Hyderabad. Reason? They look like a foreginer and not an Indian (sic).”

“What surprises me is that the other bystanders did nothing to help them out too. This is appalling by any standards. Racism still has a place in our society even in the midst of this pandemic. Sadly, we are fighting two pandemic (sic),” he added.

This tweet caught the Union minister’s attention.

Police Case Filed

Later, Hyderabad police tweeted saying a police case has been registered. “#FiR 344/2020 registered u/s 153,188, 341 IPC against store manager & 2 guards of #StarMarket at Vansthalipuram PS. #Accused are in #custody.#Regretted #Incident. Police will not tolerate such act,” tweeted one of the Hyderabad police twitter handles.

They were booked on charges of wrongful restraint, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) and disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.

The Principal Secretary (Urban), Arvind Kumar, also issued an apology on behalf of the government.

The police have since detained the manager of the supermarket and another one of the outlet’s staff.

Discrimination Against our Principles Says Supermarket

“In regards to the recent incident highlighted by one of our customers, we would like to express that discrimination of any kind is totally against our principles. We are dealing with this incident sensitively and also on priority We can assure you that we are here for all our customers, irrespective of their race, creed and class. We say it with all honesty that we will do everything it takes to make sure that our values stand tall, each day. Everyday,” said an official statement from Star Bazar.

(With inputs from The News Minute)

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