A management graduate here on Thursday lodged a police complaint accusing a leading diamond export firm of "religious discrimination" and refusing him a job because he was a Muslim.
The firm, Hari Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd., "deeply regretted" the incident and blamed a trainee employee for the error.
Zeshan Ali Khan applied for a job with the diamond export firm, which has branches in several countries.
But the company's reply on May 19 shocked him, he said. The reply read: "Thanks for your application. We regret to inform you that we hire only non-Muslim candidates."
When he posted his resentment on Facebook, it evoked sharp reactions from many people. Khan said two of his friends, who also applied there for job, were given placements in the company.
"Yes, I have lodged a complaint with the Vinoba Bhave Nagar police station, Kurla West suburb, on the issue. They are pressing charges soon in my case," Khan told IANS.
Meanwhile, National Commission for Minorities chairman Naseem Ahmed ordered a probe into the incident.
Mahendra S. Deshmukh, associate vice-president and the head of human resource department of the firm, in a statement said: "We would like to clarify that the company does not discriminate against candidates based on gender, caste, religion, etc. Any hurt caused in the matter is deeply regretted."
Deshmukh also blamed a trainee colleague, Dipika Tike, who he claimed had sent the erroneous e-mail.
Sources said since the controversy erupted, the company terminated services of the trainee employee.
Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister Eknath Khadse, who took a serious view of the matter, assured suitable action would be taken against the errant company.
"That somebody has been denied a job on grounds of religion is indeed most unfortunate. We will inquire into the incident and if the laws have been violated, we will initiate action," Khadse told reporters.
Nationalist Congress Party state spokesperson Nawab Malik flayed the company for denying a Muslim job on religious grounds and urged the central and state governments to act in the matter.
Rights activist Shehzad Poonawalla shot off a letter to the National Commission for Minorities and the union home ministry, seeking their intervention.
"This incident is a blatant violation of the spirit of the Constitution that mandates equality and absence of religious discrimination through Articles 14 and Article 25," Poonawalla said.