Pune Transwoman Denied Entry Into Mall, to Take Legal Action

In the video, Sonali Dalvi can be seen waiting at Phoenix Market City’s gate after she was stopped by security.

2 min read
Sonali Dalvi.

A transwoman was allegedly stopped from entering a shopping mall in Pune on Friday, 16 March. Sonali Dalvi went to Phoenix Market City with her friend, Manoj Boilkar.

In a two-and-a-half minute video that Boilkar recorded – which has gone viral on social media – Dalvi can be seen waiting at the mall’s gate after she was stopped by security. She demands to see any official document that prohibits her entering the mall.

According to Pune Mirror, when the duo reached gate number 5 of the mall for security check, Boilkar went to the men’s security check and Dalvi went to the female section. While Boilkar was allowed to pass, the female security guard allegedly refused to frisk Dalvi and asked her to step out.

The mall authorities then allegedly told Dalvi that she would not be allowed to enter the mall as she was a transgender person.

This is not the first time that I visited this mall. We have even held events here. But this time the security officials were adamant and refused to let me in. When I inquired what the problem was, they said that transwomen were not allowed inside the mall as per policy.
Sonali Dalvi to Pune Mirror

Dalvi said that she demanded a statement of the mall policy stating that she would not be allowed to enter being a transwoman, but the officials could not provide any. She has decided to take legal action against the mall, the report added.

“We tried asking them what the problem was, and when they claimed that she will not be allowed since she is a transgender, I decided to shoot the entire thing on my mobile phone”, Boilkar, who shot the entire episode on phone, told Pune Mirror.

What the Mall Authorities Say

According to Pune Mirror, the mall came out with a statement and had a different story to tell. While Dalvi claims that she was made to wait for over an hour, the mall authorities say that she was allowed entry in less than five minutes.

The statement by Phoenix Market City, published by Pune Mirror, reads:

“We would like to state that on the basis of the detailed report from the security agency, the person in question was asked for verification by the security guards and directed to the desired destination in less than five minutes. We regret any inconvenience caused to the customer but security precautions are part of the process. We would also like to clearly state that we neither had nor have any intentions of hurting sentiments or discriminating against anyone on the basis of their caste or gender. In fact we strongly believe in an inclusive society. It is a public space and everyone is welcome.”

Rajiv Malla, director of the mall said the mall authorities will sensitise the staff.

“This woman has visited the mall in past and there have been no such issues. We checked CCTV footage, we'll sensitise our staff for future. Everyone is welcome and allowed here”, said Malla.

(With inputs from Pune Mirror and ANI)

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