'Cops targeted man with Hindu name and Muslim surname'

Updated: Aug 16, 2019, 07:42 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

They will take legal action and want the police to apologise. However, the police claim it was a routine exercise

'Cops targeted man with Hindu name and Muslim surname'
Five members of the theatre troupe were in Pune for a performance of their play

Independence Day began on a disturbing note for five artistes from Mumbai. Some of them were approached by police in the wee hours in a hotel they were staying at. Their belongings and documents were checked, which was only because one of them has a Hindu name with a Muslim surname, they claimed. They will take legal action and want the police to apologise. However, the police claim it was a routine exercise.

'Targeted because of name'

Sharmistha Saha, Dilip Kumar Pandey, Amit Kumar, Yash Khan and Priyanka Charan were in Pune for a performance of their play, Romeo Ravidas Aur Juliet Devi. Saha said they then stayed at the hotel in Chinchwad. The men were in one room and the women in another. She said, "The police barged into the men's room around 2.30 am on Thursday. Just because Yash has a Hindu name and a Muslim surname, we were targeted."

Khan, whose mother is hindu, and father is muslim, said, "Two policemen walked in with a staffer of the hotel. They inquired who was Yash Khan and I identified myself. The police checked my documents and our bags. We told them we are a theatre troupe and had a lot of articles and bags related to it. They asked my colleagues how we know each other. They also checked below the beds."

Saha said, "Without a warrant, they searched our items and properties. Why did the hotel allow policemen into guest rooms purely on suspicion due to a young man's surname? What if he wasn't accompanied by us hindus? This is a breach of privacy as well, as the hotel staff should have informed us before. We have approached a lawyer and want the police to apologise for their actions." A staffer of the hotel said they only showed the guest register to the police and had no other role to play.

'Not to hurt sentiments'

A senior police officer said, "It was not done to hurt any body's sentiments nor was the intention to do so. We were doing our duty. It was a routine precautionary check up due to Independence Day to avoid undue incidents. Our officers did not target the man personally. Other rooms were also checked in the hotel."

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