A 67-year-old Indian visitor to Dubai was stopped from entering the Dubai Metro recently, apparently for the dress he was wearing.
The man was wearing a traditional Indian dress, a dhoti, and was ‘respectably dressed’, according to his daughter who was with him when the incident happened last Saturday at Etisalat Metro Station.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said it has no official RTA dress code or policy.
“What has happened is really surprising. There is no official restriction from the RTA and we have not given instructions on dress codes. I think anything that covers the body and is respectable should be allowed. I believe it was a personal reaction on the part of the policeman and this matter will be investigated,” said Ramadan Abdullah, Director of Operations at the RTA’s Rail Agency.
He urged the victim to approach the RTA with details of the incident which would help in the investigation.
The victim’s daughter, Madhumati, said as they entered the Etisalat Metro Station a policeman stopped them near the punching gates and told her father that this dress (dhoti) was not allowed and he could not go on the Metro wearing it.
She said her father had travelled on the Metro wearing the same dress on other occasions before and after the incident but had never been stopped.
“We have never been stopped anywhere, not on the Metro or any other places. As I brought him here to show him the UAE, we took him around to Shaikh Zayed Mosque, the Burj Khalifa, Madinat Jumeirah and many other places. My father goes around wearing the same dress because that is actually what he wears all the time and we never came across any issue with it and I don’t understand why this happened to us at this particular Metro station.”
She added that she tried her best to explain to the policeman that the dhoti was a Indian traditional dress, which covers the body fully but to no avail.
“We were actually in a hurry to go for a scheduled trip to At The Top, Burj Khalifa and were getting late. I pleaded with him to let us go as it was a hassle for us to get back to the car and reach the Burj Khalifa, we were worried that would not make it on time. But the policeman wouldn’t hear a word. It was really embarrassing and my father was really upset,” she added.
Apparently, there is no legal issue with the dress and when Madhumati lodged a formal complaint she was made to run from pillar to post without any help.
“What is more annoying is that when we complained to the RTA they directed us to Dubai Police and the police directed us back to the RTA. Nobody is letting us know what is legally allowed and we are not getting any help from any side. I feel what happened to us shouldn’t happen to others,” she added.