IIOJK Muslim suffers discrimination by Google Indian staff

Srinagar, March 28 (KMS): A Kashmiri Muslim has said that he has been subjected to discrimination by Indian employees on the basis of his identity when he worked at an affiliate of Google in India.

In a media interview, Zahid Showkat said he had worked for 18 months as a vendor employee of Google India, hired by Serco Global Services, a partner of Google Ad-words, when he faced certain malpractices, racist and anti-Muslim behaviors. “I worked as an online strategist (Google Ad-words account manager) for Google ad-words ETO team India (External Tele Operations) at Google India office, first floor, Rolta Towers, Gurgaon, India,” he said in an email interview.

Zahid says he was discriminated against on the basis of his identity as a Muslim and Kashmiri, and he brought to the attention of seniors at various times. “I was often provoked by middle management and a few co-workers to discuss the politically volatile nature of my state which I always avoided. One such incident occurred in September 2014 when my Avaya was plastered with a note ‘Hindustan zindabad’ (long live India) as a way to single me out and question my integrity in racial/religious terms.”

Zahid says he brought the issue to the attention of his Google reporting manager, but to no avail. “Instead, it led to further ridicule,” he recalls. “I was often taunted with being told: ‘if you don’t say Hindustan zindabad (‘long live India’), your sale won’t be updated’.”

He says one of his managers always used abusive language against him, and often called him names along with some other colleagues.

He said he was threatened to hand in his resignation along with a written confession that he had been engaged in an illegal practice. “I was further forced to write that ‘my intentions to acquire an account were based on my personal greed and Google India and Serco had no involvement in it’. When I declined to do so, I was threatened, harassed and cornered and my Google access card was forcibly taken from me and I was told to leave Google premises.

He said he raised the issue with Google’s leadership in California and they have assured him that they would have a close look at his case, but nothing practically was done to address his complaint.

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