Buying eight tickets for watching a movie in Chennai on Saturday was a challenging task for S.Jeeva, a 40-year-old person belonging to the Narikurava community from Tirupattur of Sivaganga district.
Police and other moviegoers had to intervene before all the eight of his family members got 10-rupee tickets later in the day.
“We came to watch the movie Thillalangadi in Devi Theatre on Anna Salai in the morning. Initially, we were asked to pay Rs.85 for a ticket. When we tried to buy the tickets, the person refused to give tickets for us even after we were ready to pay the required money,” said Mr. Jeeva. Observing that the theatre employees did not give the reason for refusing to sell tickets to them, G. Vijaya, one of the family members, said: “We watch movies every week but this is the first time that we are denied entry into a theatre.”
M. Radhakrishnan, one of the moviegoers said, “The government should give instructions to all cinema theatres to avoid such actions.”
V. Rajendran, the Administrative officer of the Theatre, however, said the eight persons were just asked to wait for current booking to commence. “The booking clerk had said that advance booking was on and current booking was not possible that time. We are ready to give tickets of Rs.85 now,” he added.
When contacted, police sources said that the group was asked to leave their baggage before entering the cinema hall. S. Muthu, another member of the family, said they were here in Chennai to sell their products, mostly handicraft items such as bead jewellery. The family would stay in the city for two months and then return home, which has been constructed for them in Sivaganga district by the government. The government had also given them free patta for their land. Most of the children in the family are pursuing education in their hometown.
“We do not have any other skills. In order to sell our handicraft products in the city, we remain homeless during the period of stay here. Had our parents given us education, we would have been treated as human beings here,” lamented S. Ragu, another member of the family. Most of them take shelter at public places during nights.
Showing his voter identity card which reads “2, Anna Nagar Street, Tirupattur, Sivagangai District,” he said, “We have voting rights similar to other citizens. But we are not treated as equals in society.”