Couple allegedly denied entry at Mumbai club for being Indian!

Jul 27, 2015, 06:45 IST | Shiva Devnath and Saurabh Vaktania

In 1932, Pritilata Waddedar led an attack on the Pahartali European Club in Kolkata, which had a board hung up, saying ‘Dogs and Indians Not Allowed’. Chased by the British police, she consumed potassium cyanide, giving up her life in the hope that Indians would be able to live without discrimination in their motherland.

This was not the first time the couple had visited the nightspot, which is inside Hotel Sea Princess in Juhu. Pics/Shadab Khan

Cut to July 26, 2015, and a Bandra couple was denied entry into a nightclub in Juhu. The Portuguese PR Manager allegedly told them that Indians were “undesirable and unfit” for the place, which calls itself ‘Mumbai’s Most Alluring Nightspot’ on its website.

Insulted
Around 2.30 am on Sunday, Jennifer Chavan, who works for an event management company went to the Trilogy nightclub in Hotel Sea Princess in Juhu. Chavan, who says she has been to the club several times, had gone there with her boyfriend Shanu Mallik to mark his birthday.

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This was not the first time the couple had visited the nightspot, which is inside Hotel Sea Princess in Juhu. Pics/Shadab Khan
This was not the first time the couple had visited the nightspot, which is inside Hotel Sea Princess in Juhu. Pics/Shadab Khan

What was meant to be a celebratory night, began to go downhill from there, culminating in the couple finding themselves at the receiving end of a racist insult they are unlikely to forget. According to Chavan, when they tried to enter the club, they were stopped at the entrance. When they asked the receptionist to call someone from inside the club management, Natasha D’sa, the Public Relations manager, came outside.

Trilogy is located inside Hotel Sea Princess in Juhu
Trilogy is located inside Hotel Sea Princess in Juhu

“Chavan and her boyfriend were stopped by Natasha saying Indians were undesirable and unfit for that club. They had gone to celebrate a birthday, but when they tried to enter, they were stopped and told that Indians were not allowed,” said an official from the Santacruz police station.

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Jennifer Chavan and Shanu Mallik were allegedly denied entry by Natasha D’Sa (right) the public relations manager
Jennifer Chavan and Shanu Mallik were allegedly denied entry by Natasha D’Sa (right) the public relations manager

“When they said Indians are not allowed, I was flabbergasted. For a moment, I actually began to wonder whether I was in India or in some other country. That sentence hurt us a lot. If they did not want to give us entry, they could have said something else. Why did they have to say that? This was not the first time we were going to the club. We had celebrated my birthday there as well,” Chavan told mid-day.

FIR
After the couple began arguing, the club’s management called the police. The Santacruz police took all of them to the police station and, on the basis of Chavan’s complaint, an FIR was filed against Natasha and the senior manager of Trilogy, Cedrick Dickson, under relevant sections of the IPC and the Civil Rights Protection Act, 1955.

 

The other side
Cedrick Dickson, the senior manager of Trilogy said, “The couple’s allegations are false and baseless. They came very late to the club and we could not accommodate them. Usually, people who visit the club inform us about the guests who are supposed to join them later and the couple’s names were not in the guest list.

They gave us the name of one of our guests who was in the club and when we cross-checked with him, he said they were not his guests.” He further added, “People can come in when they want, but they arrived very late to the club and the man seemed to be drunk. They were quiet and did not cause trouble.

The woman requested us to allow them in as it was her male friend’s birthday. However, it was too late and they were not on the guest list so we could not take them in.” When he was asked whether the couple was refused entry for being an Indian, Dickson said, “There is no question of saying such a thing.

Most of our guests are Indian. We will provide CCTV footage to the cops and cooperate with them.” Public Relations Manager Natasha D’sa, who is a Portuguese national, said, “I will talk only to the cops and my directors.”

Voices

Rohan Pansare (25), Santacruz resident
It is sad to hear that in a country where everything should be accessible to the public, clubs are engaging in discrimination and foreigners are given preference

Ishita Shah (23), Lower Parel resident
This is shocking. You don’t expect to be at the receiving end of such racist insults, least of all in your own country.

Cop speak
Officers from the Santacruz police station said they were verifying the facts and the allegations made by the couple. No arrests have been made so far. Senior Police Inspector Shantanu Pawar said, “We have registered a case against the club’s manager and a woman, who is a foreigner. Statements are yet to be recorded in the matter.”

Legal experts
Senior Advocate Abad Ponda says, “If they don’t allow Indians in Indian clubs then the clubs should shut shop immediately. The Act invoked by the police in this case the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 is apt.” Advocate Rizwan Merchant says, “It’s a matter of shame that they are restricting Indians and patronising foreigners.

If they want, they can keep some rules, but you can’t prevent Indians from going there. Clubs are for the people and if people are not allowed then the corporation should take strict action and cancel their licence.”

Senior advocate Sudeep Pasbola said, “If the allegation is true, the government should take proper action against the club. It is absolutely illegal if they are restricting Indians.”

- Inputs by Sailee Dhayalkar

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