Film maker says denied entry into Kolkata mall for wearing dhoti, company denies

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Kolkata, July 15 (IANS) Sparking outrage in the social media, film maker Ashish Avikunthak on Saturday claimed that he was initially denied entry into a well-known shopping mall here for wearing a dhoti – a traditional dress in the Indian sub-continent, particularly in Bengal.

However, a spokesman of the Quest Mall rubbished the allegation, saying: “Are we mad that we won’t allow somebody in for wearing a dhoti in a place like Kolkata?”

Avikunathak, however, posted in Facebook that he was told that entry of people wearing “dhotis and lungis” was prohibited in the Mall.

“Today I was denied entry into the Quest Mall because I was wearing dhoti… On resisting and questioning I was told that we have orders because of security reasons to prohibit entry of people in lungi and dhoti. I was eventually allowed in because I could argue in English and assert myself,” he posted.

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Calling the episode as “unambiguously a new low” for the city, he said: “Private clubs have always created hierarchies and distinctions because of clothing. Now public spaces are also threatened and a culture of segregation based on class is been practiced unhindered. I write this with a sense of deep disgust.”

But the spokesman of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, which owns the Mall, told IANS that Avikunthak was “never denied entry” but only “delayed for 20 seconds”.

“When he came to the mall, there were lot of people entering. The security personnel had some doubts and so he asked him to wait and called his boss. And within 20 seconds, he was allowed in.

“Is it even believable that in Kolkata a mall will not allow somebody in for wearing a dhoti? We have no such policy. In fact, our late chairman (of the RPG Group) Ramaprasad Goenka even used to go to places like England and US wearing a dhoti.”

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