Xi visit: IB to probe ban on NE employees

Xi visit: IB to probe ban on NE employees

Embarrassed by reports that an Ahmedabad star hotel asked its employees of the North-East origin to stay away during Chinese President Xi Jingping’s visit, the Union Home Ministry on Monday ordered a probe into the claims.

The ministry has asked the Intelligence Bureau to look into the veracity of the order and find out who issued the order. 

Reports had claimed that Gujarat Police asked the management of Hyatt hotel in Ahmedabad, where the Chinese president stayed on September 17, to ask its staff from north-east to stay away from the venue on Wednesday last. There were also reports that north-east origin employees at a mall in Ahmedabad were also asked not to report for duty on the day Xi visited Ahmedabad.

Sources said the Intelligence Bureau has been asked to report its findings by Tuesday. The Home Ministry has taken strong objection to such actions, saying they were grossly improper if it had happened. 

Gujarat Police had denied that any such instructions were given. “I am not aware of any such diktat given by police to the hotel authorities about their staff. We were just concerned about the Tibetans,” A K Sharma, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), was quoted by PTI as saying.

The management of Hotel Hyatt, Ahmedabad also expressed surprise at the reports and claimed that all its staffers, including those from the north-east, performed their duty on September 17 when Xi had a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi there.

“No such order was given to the hotel staff on that day. All staff, including those from the north-east, were present in the hotel and on duty when Chinese President arrived. I am surprised that such baseless reports are doing the rounds,” said Marketing Manager of Hyatt Ahmedabad, Ayesha Mishra.

Indian security establishment had taken extra precautions as Tibetan refugees in India had announced protests during Xi’s visit. Tibetans have organised protests during visits by Chinese leaders in the past as well. Ahead of Xi’s visit, Tibetan activist Tenzin Tsundue was caught on the Sabarmati Ashram premises where he was hiding. Xi was to visit Sabarmati Ashram along with Modi on September 17.

Tenzin is known for protests, including the April 2005 incident in Bangalore when he unfurled a banner to protest Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s visit.

During a visit by Chinese leaders earlier, people from north-east were put to hardships in New Delhi as policemen mistook many for Tibetans because of their similarity in appearance and were barred from going near Connaught Place or Parliament Street.

Reacting to reports, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said last week that it was an insult to the north-east. 

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