Justice eludes Pune-based techie terminated for ‘Islamic’ attire; protest to move to Delhi

By Nikhat Fatima, TwoCircles.net

Aman Khan, a Pune-based techie who was forcibly terminated from a Canadian company on June 12 this year is going to start a Satyagraha in Delhi from November 9 in an attempt to seek justice after his appeal to various authorities fell on deaf ears.

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Aman Khan, whose story we had highlighted in September, has already approached his company’s head office in Canada, the labour commissioner in Pune, the collector and other officials in authority. However, no one has helped address his issue.

Aman Khan is the sole breadwinner of his family of 12. He takes care of his late brother’s family as well his own. Now after losing this job due to alleged religious discrimination, Khan is hoping that he will be given his due right if the matter comes to light before the President of India.

Wrongly targeted for ‘Islamic’ attire

Aman Khan joined EXFO Electro-Optical India Pvt. Ltd India located in Pune, Maharashtra State in 2015 as the Principal Software developer in monitoring and service units. Within a year, his hard work and commitment were recognised and he was promoted. Subsequently, he was deputed to the head office of EXFO in Quebec, Canada from December 2017 to March 2018.

After his return to Pune, during the month of Ramadan in June 2018 Aman Khan after having performed his Friday prayers came back to the office with the handkerchief which he had used for prayers still on his head. His manager objected to this and Aman Khan apologised that he will henceforth remember to remove it before entering the office premises. But it was not just the handkerchief, it was also the ‘pathani suit’ which Khan was wearing that irritated Kishore Kotecha his manager, says Aman.

Kotecha refused to listen to any explanation especially when Khan pointed out that the company had no specific dress code and that while in Canada Khan had performed his prayers and nobody there had objected to the same. Khan also reminded the manager that the Constitution of India guaranteed every citizen the right to freedom of religion and the right to live with dignity.

Kishore Kotecha allegedly said that he did not care for the company policy or the Constitution of India.

Aman Khan then complained to the HR and as per the company policy, a disciplinary action was in line. But sadly all the management of the Pune branch jumped in defence of Kotecha and demanded Khan to take back his complaint. But Khan refused to do so and instead mailed to Stephen Bull, Vice President of the company in Quebec, Canada.

Subsequently, Kotecha was asked to issue an apology letter to Khan which he did on May 31, 2018. Aman Khan thought that was the last of the unpleasant incident. But in June, he says he was cornered and bullied into giving a resignation letter, failing which he would be terminated thereby jeopardising his chances of employment.

Besides, there was security personnel who blocked Khan’s way out of the cabin of the Managing director VBS Krishnamurthy. Reluctantly, Khan signed the resignation letter and his request for a copy of the letter was not considered.

His access card and laptop were also taken away and he was then escorted by the security outside the company premises.

Khan wrote to the Head Office of EXFO in Quebec but did not receive any reply from there. He wrote to the labour commissioner and in a few days received a call from an unknown person who threatened him for bringing a bad name to Maharashtra.

Upon complaining to the police, the number was traced to be that of a cop from the SIT department.

When the Assistant labour commissioner called both the parties and took their explanations which were recorded by the labour department staff in Marathi, the official language of the state, both parties were asked to sign the statement. But the representative of the company refused to sign on the grounds that she does not know to read and write Marathi. Her advocates took time to submit their statement to the commissioner which they did in July wherein they stated that Kotecha had indeed used unparliamentary language against Khan and had later issued an apology letter. But the company denied Khan’s employment category under ‘workman’ and thereupon absolved themselves saying the matter does not qualify for any legal proceeding in court.

Now Khan was left with no option but to file an FIR with the police. Although he recorded his statement before the special Inspector of Police on July 7 which was documented, no FIR was lodged. Khan followed up continuously with the police for nearly a month and the police kept giving excuses for not filing FIR.

So, he began his ‘satyagraha’ from August 15 and at the same time filed an RTI as to why no FIR was lodged and no action was taken against the wrongdoers even after two and a half months. In response to his RTI, he was informed that the matter is of a religious bias and hence an FIR cannot be lodged.

He was told by the SPI Sunil Tambe that they would not lodge an FIR but Aman Khan was free to appeal to the court for lodging an FIR. Aman Khan then approached even the Commissioner of Police, DCP and ACP for justice. But was not given any assurance or respite.

Delhi as last resort

Aman Khan now plans to start his Satyagraha in Delhi from November 9 with a fast at Jantar Mantar from November 10. His charter of demands includes immediate legal action on responsible persons; character certificate; issue experience letter and penalty and salary to be paid to him.

Aman said his fast was for all those employees who were removed from service in an unjust, illegal and unprofessional manner without any notice.

With inputs from SN Ansari, free lance journalist and Asst Editor, UrduCity portal; Urducity.in