Pune: Apologising for denying entry to a transgender at the mall, the authorities at Phoenix Marketcity on Tuesday welcomed Sonali Dalvi and said that whatever happened was an unfortunate conduct.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament Vandana Chavan set the tone for a healthy dialogue between the mall authorities and Dalvi. She appealed to officials to present an apology and give her due respect.
On Thursday evening, when Dalvi and her friend Manoj Goyalkar had visited Phoenix Mall, they were apprehended by security guards and denied entry to the mall. Dalvi had stated that the guards refused to frisk her, instead started frisking other visitors. When asked why such a discrimination against her, the guards replied saying it is not in our policy to allow entry to ‘your’ community. After a half-an-hour of argument, Dalvi was allowed to enter when other visitors also intervened.
“Our society is yet to be sensitised regarding respecting and recognising transgenders as humans. It took a while to bring revolution in accepting, welcoming a girl’s birth and education. It will take more time for society to include transgenders into the mainstream. However, discrimination of any person based on community, caste or religion is not acceptable. Therefore, this step for reconciliation will ensure that such kind of incidents never take place again,” said Chavan.
Criticising lack of government’s initiatives to spread awareness about transgenders and their issues, Chavan added, “Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have transgender police but Maharashtra has none. The State government should take up an initiative to promote education and job employment among transgender community and this will help them gain recognition and better position in the society,” said Chavan.
After four days of the incident, Central Director of Phoenix Marketcity Rajiv Malla came out with an apology. “It was an unfortunate incident and nothing was intentional. The mall does not promote any kind of discrimination. We are inclusive of all caste, community and religion. Yet, if anything went wrong and has hurt Dalvi’s sentiments, I am apologetic on behalf of all staff members,” said Malla.
Malla further informed that the two security guards were immediately suspended. Chavan suggested if Phoenix Marketcity as a pioneer could take the initiative to hire transgenders as mall staff members.
Accepting the apology, Dalvi said, “I have always asked for love and respect, that is what I want for myself and community people.” Dalvi also informed that she will not lodge any complaint against the mall authorities.
Vandana Chavan, Sonali Dalvi along with local corporators and a few women from different walks of life who were present to support her at the mall, took a tour of the mall.