Hare Krishna Exports sent job candidate Zeshan Ali Khan an email denying him a position citing his Muslim faith as a reason why he was not accepted.
A private Mumbai based firm has spurred national outrage for denying a job candidate on religious grounds. Hare Krishna Exports which is a leading diamond exporter in India with a global presence is now set to be the subject of a police investigation. The incident has even drawn the attention of the National Commission for Minorities.
The candidate, Zeshan Ali Khan, completed his MBA studies and applied for the job having found it on a job recruitment portal. He got his reply in 20 minutes from Hare Krishna Exports which expressed their regret for not hiring him while informing him that the company only hires non-Muslim candidates. Zeshan Ali Khan then proceeded to share the reply from the company on his Facebook page. The post went viral prompting national outcry on the discrimination of minorities, especially in job applications.
On the day after, amid the protests the incident had caused, the Hare Krishna Exports’ Associate VP and Head of HR Mahendra S. Deshmukh sent another mail apologizing to Zeshan Ali Khan. In the second email, Mr. Mahendra went on to express the company’s regret to any hurt caused by the first letter which he said was sent by Mrs. Dipika Tike, who, he claimed, had just joined the company and was still in training. He further clarified that the incident was an error and not the company’s policy.
Hare Krishna Exports’ defense of their statements has only increased suspicions that this was no error since Mrs. Dipika Tike, who was called a trainee in the company’s response, had been with the company for four years and held senior posts over that time according to her LinkedIn page. The page further showed she joined Hare Krishna Exports as a “Human Resources Generalist” with duties including recruitment and employee engagement. Because her LinkedIn account page was pulled down after the controversy and two of Zeshan’s friends who are non-Muslims got job offerings, suspicions have only deepened.
Zeshan has said he will not be taking any job offer from Hare Krishna Exports while his two friends in show of solidarity have turned down their job appointments. Government and state officials have condemned the incident, but this is not an isolated case as several job recruitment sites contain positions with religious requirements or open “need-not-apply” statements to specific religious beliefs.