We are taking a risk by going to work. But the point we are making is that caste discrimination is wrong

Bluru inter-caste couple allege they were sacked by bank for damaging reputation
news Saturday, June 25, 2016 - 20:05

"They would not let us work in the bank because of our inter-caste marriage, which they claim, has caused them damage," said Rakesh, a bank clerk in Bengaluru who married his colleague Unnati in November 2015. 

Seven months after dismissing them allegedly without giving them a reason, the officials of Hotel Industrialist Co-operative Bank in the Chamrajpet area in Bengaluru have apparently called the couple to further discuss matters on June 27.

31-year-old Rakesh belongs to the Mogaveera caste, whereas his wife is a Brahmin. 

Both were working as second division clerks in the bank – Rakesh for 9 years, and Unnati for 3 years. They had been in a relationship for over a year-and-a-half before their marriage. 

"We were in love for over one-and-a-half years before the marriage. A few months after we fell in love, I told Unnati's parents that we wish to marry. But, they chided us and we did not bring it up. When Unnati's parents started looking for a groom, she panicked, and we decided to get married. We married on November 22, 2015, but told our parents only after the registration on December 9, 2015. After that there were many problems at our homes. We had to even seek police protection," he said.

Rakesh said that he and Unnati were not allowed to enter the bank from December 10.

Unnati also happens to be the niece of Pundalika Halambi, former president of the Karnataka Sahithya Parishad, who was also the Chairman of the bank.

Halambi passed away in April 2016. 

“My uncle, who was the Chairman, told us that the marriage had caused damage to the family and to everyone, and made sure we did not enter the bank,” said Unnati. 

While both await their reinstatement at the bank, Rakesh has been working as a cab driver to make ends meet.

"After some pressure from the media, they have asked us to come to the bank to discuss on June 27,"said Rakesh.

Asked if they are apprehensive about facing any discrimination in the bank when they return to work, Rakesh said, "That's the risk we are taking. But the point we are making is that caste discrimination is wrong."

Shyam Sundar, CEO of the Hotel and Industrialist Co-operative bank refused to comment on the issue.

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