On September 1, at about 8:30pm, Tandeep Singh of Chennai decided to take his first ride on the metro with a lot of enthusiasm. Singh has lived in Chennai for most of his life, and he writes on his FB page, “Now I may not look like it, but I’m a true blue Chennaiite (Madarasi to most of India).” A new Metro in town was exciting.
As soon as he stepped in for security check after buying his tickets, Singh says he was in for a rude shock. The security guard went after his turban asking that it be removed for a check, says Singh.
Speaking to The News Minute, Singh says that the guard at the Vadapalani station repeatedly asked him to remove his turban, even after Singh told him that he cannot ask him to do that, and that the turban was sacred. The guard reportedly also said that those were the instructions given to them. “I had to be quite stern with him. I asked him to get the supervisor. The he relented and let me go,” says Singh.
Recounting his experience on his Facebook pages, Singh says,
“I don’t blame the security guy for this instance, it is nothing but pure ignorance. CMRL you are at fault here, you need to educate your staff more about such issues. I was in two minds to throw a raging fit there and make a scene. I refrained from doing so, because that is what my culture, my faith teaches me to do. To be patient and understanding with the ignorant.”
Singh is not angry, but he is concerned. He says that he says the he does not blame the guard, who could have been unaware of Sikh practices, but more awareness needs to be created. “I am thinking that I will raise this with the Sikh community in Chennai so that we can raise awareness. This is not the first time it is happening with us. I love the city, it’s home,” he says.
“I request you to look into this matter and educate your staff,” Singh told CMRL.
The News Minute informed the Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. about the issue. Soon after, the CMRL contacted Singh to apologise to him. An official of CMRL said they were sorry that this happened and that they will look into the issue.
CMRL has not responded to the queries of The News Minute yet.
|Tandeep Singh with Apne Sardar Chennai
Chennai, India September 1at 10.35pm
|Dear Chennai Metro Rail
Now I may not look like it, but I’m a true blue Chennaiite. (Madarasi to most of India). I have spent the most part of my life in this city. This city has been a home for me and my family. I’m really glad Chennai is finally getting a metro rail network. I never had the chance to use the current line, until late last night.
I was really looking forward to it, having experienced Delhi Metro for the past 8 months and seeing how well maintained it is. First off I’m really happy with the way the station and the train is maintained. Good job on that, it looks like an absolute world class facility.
My main gripe and complaint is with the security check at the metro. Now after doing all the scans, the security person points at my turban and asks me to remove my cap. I was shocked. This is not the first time something like this has happened to me, unfortunately.
Let me tell you I’ve traveled in and around USA as well and I’ve never been asked to take my turban off. However this ridiculous request is made only in India. I’m shocked and appalled by this. I thought Chennai has actually changed and finally we are moving on as a city and be more accepting of different cultures and races.
I don’t blame the security guy for this instance, it is nothing but pure ignorance. CMRL you are at fault here, you need to educate your staff more about such issues. I was in two minds to throw a raging fit there and make a scene. I refrained from doing so, because that is what my culture, my faith teaches me to do. To be patient and understanding with the ignorant.
I request you to look into this matter and educate your staff. I’m also tagging some influential people from the Chennai sikh community. This issue must be looked into right away. It is bad enough Chennai as a city has such an unfriendly reputation from most of India. It’s time to be more welcoming and accepting. This will only benefit the city, improve your rail traffic and benefit us and the country in the long run.