Updated: July 21, 2015 6:32:14 am
A 23-year-old student from Nagaland, working as an intern with an NGO in Pune, was asked to show proof of his Indian nationality to enter the well-known Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum in the city on Sunday even after he showed his driving licence issued by government of Nagaland as his identity proof. Finally, he was asked to pay the entry fees meant for foreigners after which he dropped his plan to visit the museum.
The incident took place on Sunday morning when P David Ndang, a resident of Peren in Nagaland who has been pursuing an internship with city-based NGO Watershed Organisation Trust, went to the Kelkar Museum for a visit. He was accompanied by Prithviraj Gaikwad, an employee with the NGO who had agreed to show him around the city. David is pursuing his post-graduation in social work from North East Institute of Social Sciences and Research in Dimapur.
Speaking to The Indian Express, David said, “When we went to the entry gate of the museum, the staff asked me for an identity proof. Prithviraj asked them why it was needed at all, to which they said they needed to see it. As I could not speak in Marathi, Prithviraj started talking on my behalf and was translating it for me. “
Prithviraj said, “David showed his driving licence issued by the Nagaland government, which also said he was permitted to drive anywhere in India. It has the emblem of Republic of India and also says he is a resident of Nagaland and mentions the permanent address as Peren in Nagaland. But the staff said anyone could forge such a licence and asked if he had any proof of his nationality. I asked David if he was carrying any other identity proof. He said he was not.”
David said, “It was alright for them to ask me for an ID proof as there are different entry fees for Indians and foreigners. But even after seeing my driving licence which showed my permanent address from Nagaland, they kept asking me to prove my nationality. At one point of time, I had to tell them that Nagaland was part of India. But finally they asked me buy a ticket meant for foreigners at Rs 200 as against one for an Indian at Rs 50. I felt offended due to the discrimination which was obviously because of my facial features. We just walked away without buying the ticket.”
Sudhanva Ranade, the director of the Kelkar Museum said, “The incident did take place, but we have the right to ask a guest whether he or she is an Indian or a foreigner. So, I feel the incident was an isolated case of misunderstanding. We always make sure that every guest is treated with utmost respect. Also, the person in question has not bought the ticket. We would be happy to welcome them again and clear the misunderstanding, if any.”
Pune has witnessed several cases of violence and discrimination against the residents of North-Eastern states.
In 2012, such incidents had led to mass exodus of residents of North-Eastern states from Pune.
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