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Fight club: what Shiv Sena & MNS want to score from a pub quarrel

Sanjeev Shivadekar | Updated on: 29 July 2015, 0:53 IST

Big fight

  • Pub doorwoman, a foreigner, turns away couple allegedly for being Indian
  • The couple complain to the police, say she made derogatory remarks

Low bar

  • Shiv Sena, MNS pounce on the row, demand action
  • They want the police to check if she has a valid work permit
  • MNS has long raged against \'illegal foreign workers\'

The row over a foreigner denying an Indian couple entry to a Mumbai nightclub has raised the hackles of the Marathi Manoos brigade. And has yanked the issue of "illegal foreign workers" centre stage.

Jennifer Chavan and her fiance Shanu Mallik had gone to Trilogy at Hotel Sea Princess on the night of Saturday, 25 July, to celebrate Mallik's birthday. But the door hostess, a foreigner, stopped them, allegedly saying "Indians are not allowed".

They approached a senior manager, only to be directed back to the door hostess. This led to a heated argument, following which the couple complained to the police.

"We lodged a complaint as the lady at the gate made derogatory remarks," Chavan told Catch.

Trilogy door hostess, a foreigner, turned away Jennifer Chavan and Shanu Mallik allegedly for being Indian

Refuting the charges, the nightclub management stated in a release Monday night, "98% of our patrons are Indians and it is absolutely bizarre to assume that we do not allow Indians to a place meant for them." A hotel executive also said that the accused foreigner has a valid work permit.

The incident has started a game of one-upmanship between the two Thackeray parties; they are racing each other to get the most political mileage out of the controversy.

Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena wants the police to check whether the foreigner has a valid work permit. Raj Thackeray's MNS is demanding an apology from the hotel management for allegedly making "derogatory" remarks against Indians.

"We have decided that a delegation of our party workers will meet the police authorities and ask them whether the foreign national has a valid work permit," said Sena leader Anil Parab.

"If the accused foreign national has all her papers in place, we have no issue. But, if that is not the case, she should be booked for violation of other rules as well."

Sandeep Deshpande, MNS group leader in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, said the hotel should tender an apology if the allegations are true. "The investigation will establish if the foreign national said 'Indians are not allowed'. If true, it is an insult to the entire Indian fraternity."

He added: "And why just one party? All political parties should come together and condemn the incident."

The "illegal foreign workers" issue has long been on MNS' radar. In 2011, its workers stalled the shooting of the Amitabh Bachchan movie Bbuddah, alleging that foreign artists on the set did not have work permits.

Last year, the party's leaders met the Mumbai police commissioner and urged him to crack down on foreigners violating norms.

MNS stalled the shooting of Big B's Bbuddah in 2011, saying foreign artists on the set didn't have work permits

The police, meanwhile, have registered a case under Section 5 of the Civil Rights Protection Act against the foreigner and the senior manager based on the couple's complaint. The section provides for imprisonment of up to six months and fine for refusing to admit a person to a hospital, educational institute or hotel.

The police, however, haven't yet recorded the statements of the accused. "The nightclub is closed on Mondays. We will record their statements in the next couple of days," said an inspector at the Santacruz police station, where the complaint was lodged. "We have asked for the CCTV footage to get more clarity on the incident."

First published: 29 July 2015, 0:53 IST