A Nagaland student was asked to pay an entry fee meant for foreigners at a Pune museum on Sunday despite him showing his driving licence issued by the government of Nagaland as his identity proof.
P David Ndang, 23, who is an intern with an NGO in Pune, was asked to show proof of his Indian nationality to enter the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum in Pune.
The incident allegedly took place on Sunday morning when Ndang, accompanied by his colleague Prithviraj Gaikwad, planned to visit the museum in order to know more about the city. Ndang, who is pursuing a post-graduate course in social work in Dimapur, later dropped his plan to visit the museum.
“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,” Ndang told Indian Express.
“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,” added Ndang’s colleague Prithviraj.
“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,” said Ndang.
Meanwhile, director of the Kelkar Museum, Sudhanva Ranade 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.”
In the past, Pune has witnessed a lot of cases of violence and discrimination against people belonging to North-eastern states.
In 2012, such incidents had even led to mass exodus of North-east residents from Pune.
(Photo Courtesy: Indian Express)