Atlanta/Vadodara: In a case of wrongful racial discrimination in the city of Atlanta, Karan Jani (29) , a postdoctoral research fellow in Astrophysics and a member of the US LIGO Scientific Collaboration hailing from Vadodara & now settled in the US, has alleged that he along with his three friends were thrown out from a Gujarati garba venue in Atlanta conducted by the organisers of Sri Shakti Mandir because their surnames “didn’t appear to be Hindu”. He had been doing garba at this venue for the last six years and had never faced any such problems earlier before.

Karan Jani (29), had made it to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) US team that discovered the gravitational waves and which also received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. He was also featured as one of the 30 scientists under 30 by the Forbes magazine.

He alleged that he was thrown out of the venue by the organisers at Sri Shakti Mandir and took to Twitter and Facebook to narrate his ordeal . “Year 2018 & Shakti Mandir in Atlanta, USA denied me and my friends entry from playing garba because: ‘You don’t look Hindu and last name in your IDs don’t sound Hindu’.” He said that when one of his friends gave the volunteers at the temple his ID proof, they said he won’t be allowed because his surname ended with ‘wala’ and it didn’t seem to be a Hindu surname.

One of the volunteers told one of his friends, “We don’t come to your events, you are not allowed to ours.” She is a Konkani who had come to the garba for the first time. When she told the volunteer that her last name was Murdeshwar and that she was a Kannada-Marathi, the volunteer said: “What is Kannada ? You are Ismaili.” Jani said he had never faced such discrimination even from the Americans during my 12 years of stay here, he said. An email sent to Shri Shakti Mandir remained unanswered till the time of going to press & social media .Jani said he received a call from the temple’s management later and added that the chairman apologised saying the temple doesn’t believe in discrimination. “He said it was miscommunication on the part of the volunteers. But the treatment meted out to us was embarrassing,” Jani said.