National

Gurugram workers allege they were turned away on religious grounds

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Representational Image  

Garments unit’s management denies charges as baseless, cites non-discriminatory hiring policy

Several Muslim workers at Richa & Co., a garments unit based in the Udyog Vihar Phase-III area of Gurugram, have alleged that they were turned away from the company’s gate on Thursday citing their religion and told to wait till “there were orders from the higher-ups”. The company, however, denied the allegations made by the workers, saying it had a large Muslim workforce and had never imposed religion-based restrictions.

Three of these workers, employed as tailors, spoke to The Hindu. They said they had been working with the company running from plot no. 411 in Udyog Vihar Phase-III for the past two to six years. All three alleged that on Thursday they were not allowed inside on grounds that “permission from the higher-ups was awaited for them”. They claimed only their Hindu colleagues were taken in.

‘At least 50’

Babul Haq, staying at Dundahera on the Delhi-Gurugram border, said he found his name and that of other Muslim workers written on a separate piece of paper, and that the personnel manager had told them there was no work for “those offering Namaz and observing fast” as of now.

He claimed that at least 50 Muslim workers were turned away on Thursday. On Wednesday, he said, the manager had told them movement passes, required for workers to reach their place of work, would be applied for soon.

Statement from Muslim workers turned away from Delhi garments company
 

Mohammad Ferdos Ali, another worker, said he did not have enough money to pay rent and his landlord had been pressing him for it. He, too, claimed that he had not been allowed inside because of his religion.

Lalchan Ali, the third worker, said the names of Muslim workers were marked in red and they were made to stand in a queue and told to go back. He said, “The manager told me that Muslims, if allowed, will be called back to work only after Ramzan.” Mr. Ali said he was his family’s sole breadwinner and had to take care of his aged parents back home in West Bengal.

The men said they would not be able to sustain themselves if they were not allowed to work.

‘No discrimination’

The company’s general manager Amardeep Dagar denied the allegations. “It cannot happen. A lot of Muslims work with us. In fact, most of the tailors are Muslims. We never imposed religion-based restrictions,” said Mr. Dagar.

He, however, said that workers from Delhi’s Kapashera were not being allowed due to fears over the spread of COVID-19. He said the allegations were “propaganda” and assured the matter would be looked into, if there was any such complaint.

The company’s deputy manager (human resource and compliance) Amit Kumar said that only four workers had been turned away since they did not have movement passes. “The company has permission for 200 workers, but movement passes allowed for only 65. There was no discrimination based on religion,” claimed Mr. Kumar.

The Muslim workers, however, claimed that many Hindu workers also did not have movement passes but were allowed inside.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 2:55:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gurugram-workers-allege-they-were-turned-away-on-religious-grounds/article31526949.ece

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