Father condemns son’s entry denial at garba event in US for not ‘looking like Hindu’

Vadodara: Expressing astonishment at the alleged denial of his son at a garba event in Atlanta in the United States for “not looking like a Hindu”, the astrophysicist’s father said that his son sounded nervous on the telephone following the incident.

Karan’s father, Pankaj Jani told ANI, “He spoke to me over phone and sounded nervous. Such incident shouldn’t have happened. He is a Gujarati and that too from Vadodara. Garba has a special place in our country”.

Residing in the US, Karan alleged that he and his friends were asked to leave the venue by the organisers of the garba event because “they didn’t look like Hindu and their surnames also didn’t appear to be Hindu”.

His father said Karan is a garba lover and he had gone to play garba on last Friday at a place he has been going on for years. However, “when he went there, volunteers stopped him and told him that he doesn’t look Hindu by face and his surname doesn’t appear to be that of a Hindu”, Karan’s father said quoting him. Karan was selected for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) team in US that discovered the gravitational waves in 2016,

“Karna went there (garba event) along with his friends who were Gujarati and were speaking in Gujarati. His Kannada-Marathi friend who came to attend garba for the first time was pulled out of the line first. Karan told them that their IDs had Indian Emblem on it, even then they were asked to leave,” he added.

On Sunday, Karan tweeted the alleged ill-treatment he and his friends had to go through saying, “Year 2018 and 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”.”

“I was told by that organiser, a senior person, things in Gujarati which are so crude and demeaning that it can’t be shared on public forum. Just to ensure we don’t dare to enter the temple again. Such fuss just for Garba in Navratri – With friends – to celebrate Indian culture,” he added.

He further said that despite speaking in Gujarati, the organisers kept stating that they were from other religion and asked them to leave. “My other friend’s last name had “Dangarwala”. We spoke in Gujarati to them. They still said we were “Vohra, Sindhis”. They actually kept stating other religions!! They ganged up and told us to leave,” he tweeted.

He also alleged that one of his friends, who was Konkani, was pulled out of line and told by a volunteer: “We don’t come to your events, you are not allowed to ours.” He added that when she told the volunteer that her surname was Murdeshwar and that she was a Kannada-Marathi, the volunteer asked: “What is Kannada? You are Ismaili.”

He claimed that he told the organisers that he had been doing the garba at that particular venue for the last six years and never faced any problem. He tweeted, “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”