African nationals have a mixed view on whether they experience discrimination in day-to-day living in the city, going beyond the reported denial of entry of one of them into a pub recently.
While some of them claim they have been denied apartments on rent and discriminated by the police, others beg to differ.
Kasule Fahad, president of Ugandan Students' Association Bangalore, cited an incident where only Ugandan students in a bus were questioned and searched at a checkpost in the city.
He also said Africans had difficulty renting apartments. “Landlords don't rent out apartments to African nationals because they fear that they're up to something illegal.”
Indian students too
However, Samuel Malvi, ex-president of the Rwanda Students' Association, said he had not seen any significant case of discrimination. “When searching for apartments or houses for rent,” he said, “there is a tendency for landlords to prefer families over students. Even Indian students sometimes don't get apartments for rent.”
An African recently alleged he had been barred entry into pubs in the city. But, Joan Mugwanya, a Ugandan student who has been in the city for the past three years, said: “Most pubs I've been to welcome Africans because they think we spend a lot of money.”
Pub owners in the city, meanwhile, deny the existence of any policy — written or unwritten — that bars Africans.
Danny Joseph, who heads the national operations of Xtreme Sports bar, says the exclusion of an African national from a pub is an isolated incident blown out of proportion by the media. “Clubs and pubs follow a policy of restricted entry for single men during ladies' night and other theme nights. A lot of Indian men are not allowed in too. So, denying entry to African males during these nights is not because of discrimination or racism.”
Ashish Kothare, president of the Association of Bars, Restaurants and Pubs, who runs two pubs in the city, denied the allegations of discrimination against Africans. “No pub owner in his senses will reject customers based on colour or creed. It is foolish business sense.”
He rubbished the allegations of the African who claimed to have been barred entry into pubs in the city. “The man claims to have been rejected entry into four pubs, but he refuses to disclose the names of the pubs,” Mr. Kothare said. “How can we take action based on what he claims without furnishing any proof?”
Christy, a bouncer at a club in the city, conceded there is a tendency for bouncers to profile Africans. “We've had cases of drunken African men fighting among themselves or harassing girls. While we don't bar their entry into clubs, we do keep a close watch on them inside.”
He added as Indian women were uncomfortable in the presence of groups of African men, bouncers have had to evict these groups. “That was more for security reasons than discrimination,” he said.