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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Sartorial apartheid: Bengaluru Metro refuses entry to aged man over soiled clothes

The state-owned Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) sacked the security supervisor at Rajajinagar station after facing a backlash on social media, with many users asking whether the Metro was a VIP transport system

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 27.02.24, 05:52 AM
The commuter who was denied entry into Bangalore Metro

The commuter who was denied entry into Bangalore Metro Sourced by the Telegraph

A glitzy Metro station in Tech City turned into a stage for sartorial apartheid when security staff refused entry to an aged man who was in soiled clothes and carried a gunny bag.

The state-owned Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) on Monday sacked the security supervisor at Rajajinagar station after facing a backlash on social media, with many users asking whether the Metro was a VIP transport system.

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BMRCL announced its decision on X and reiterated that it was indeed a public transport system, open to everyone.

“Our Metro is a public transport and after investigating the Rajajinagar incident, the service of the security supervisor has been terminated. The Corporation regrets the inconvenience caused to passengers,” it posted.

A video of the incident was shared on X on Saturday and went viral on Monday morning. BMRCL’s post announcing the sacking came before the morning was over.

The video was apparently filmed by a Kannadiga man who is heard fighting for the helpless and dazed Hindi-speaking commuter, whose identity remains unknown. The protester was identified as Karthik C. Airani by Deepak N, who shared the video.

The protester was later joined by another Kannada-speaking man who is seen questioning the Metro security staff about the justification for denying entry to a man because his clothes are soiled.

The man in dirty clothes had had his gunny bag scanned and was stopped at the gate of the platform, which means he had already bought a ticket.

The protester who filmed the video did most of the talking. “He is not being allowed into the Metro because his clothes are soiled…. Is this VIP transport? This is public transport. What does it mean, saying you won’t allow people in such clothes?” he is heard telling security staff.

While he continues arguing, the aggrieved commuter stands with his gunny sack on his head.

“Where are the rules saying those wearing dirty clothes won’t be allowed? If there is indeed such a law, I’ll get him a new panche (dhoti) and take him in,” the protester tells the security staff, who remain silent.

The second man says: “Let him wear soiled clothes; he is a farmer.”

Eventually, the first protester says he has already been held back by “15 minutes” — indicating the length of time the argument had continued. At this, the security staff relent and allow the aged man into the platform.

A BMRCL official told The Telegraph that the man with the gunny bag did board a train from Rajajinagar and completed his journey. He did not reveal which station the commuter got off.

The state Congress general secretary in charge of media communications, Lavanya Ballal, slammed BMRCL and called for a sensitisation programme for its employees.

“Hats off to Karthik C Airani. What kind of rubbish is this @OfficialBMRCL? Isn’t metro a public transport? You need to have a sensitisation program for your employees,” Lavanya wrote on X.

An X user named Muthu Ranganathan reminded everyone that the Metro is called Namma Metro (“Our Metro” in Kannada) for a reason. “As the name suggests it is #NammaMetro — it’s for all,” Ranganathan’s post said.

A large number of people from Bangalore shared their anger and disappointment at the treatment of a poor man who was stopped over his clothes.

Deepak N, who shared the video, commented: “UNBELIEVABLE..! Is metro only for VIPs? Is there a dress code to use Metro?”

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