Kashmiri student says father, sister denied Oyo room based on identity; hotel claims orders from Delhi Police, cops deny it

Delhi University student Nauman Rafiq took his father and sister, who'd come all the way from Jammu and Kashmir to visit, to Asha Residency, an Oyo registered four-star hotel in Vijay Nagar near North Campus. But to his dismay, the hotel refused to allow them to stay

Ismat Ara February 16, 2020 17:18:53 IST
Kashmiri student says father, sister denied Oyo room based on identity; hotel claims orders from Delhi Police, cops deny it
  • Nauman Rafiq took his father and sister to Asha Residency, an Oyo registered four-star hotel. But they were denied a room

  • They said people from Afghanistan, Balochistan, Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan aren't allowed to stay in their hotel, Rafiq stated

  • Karan Singh Rana, Station House Officer of Mukherjee Nagar Police Station, said no such instructions have been given to hotels

On Saturday, Nauman Rafiq, a law student at Delhi University, excited about his father and sister coming all the way from Jammu and Kashmir's Doda to visit, booked a hotel room for them near the university.

Around noon, he took his father and sister to Asha Residency, an Oyo registered four-star hotel in Vijay Nagar near North Campus.

Kashmiri student says father sister denied Oyo room based on identity hotel claims orders from Delhi Police cops deny it

Oyo logo. News18

But to his dismay, the hotel refused to allow them to stay. And on what grounds?

Rafiq explained, "They asked for proof of identity. After we furnished it, they asked where the ID is from. I said 'Jammu and Kashmir'. They said they don't allow people from Afghanistan, Balochistan, Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan to stay in their hotel. They said it is part of their policy."

After insisting he'd like to see this hotel policy in writing, Rafiq was told that "the internet is weak" and "it might not show right now" on the app. Then he was told the hotel had orders from the Delhi Police not to allow any persons from these areas till the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens protests are on.

Firstpost is in possession of the video in which Rafiq can be heard talking to the hotel manager over the phone. The manager Rahul Gautam can be heard saying, "Dekhiye, humara jo hotel hai na, wo police ground ke saath me hai".

"Actually, the problem is that we don't have a scanner or a check-in machine because of which we can't check people's luggage. It doesn't look good if we check your luggage by our hands, and you had a girl also with you. It wouldn't have looked good,Gautam said.

Gautam added that they have orders from the Delhi Police to not allow people from certain states and countries. He then continued, "We don't even accept couples, be it married or unmarried. We don't have any personal animosity against you, sir. You are also Indian, we are also Indians."

Despite multiple attempts by Firstpost, Gautam remained unavailable for comment.

The hotel receptionist Balvinder Rana denied any charges of discrimination. "There were three guests. Rafiq, who booked the room, looked like a decent person, and he had a Delhi Identity card. However, the other two guests didn't show me valid ID cards and that's why we didn't allow them to stay."

On asking what he meant by a valid ID card, Rana said the photographs in the identity cards shown by the customers didn't match the guests.

But according to Rafiq, the hotel refused to let them stay immediately after they learnt his family was from Jammu and Kashmir.

Rana added, "It is the habit of some guests to get aggressive at every little thing. They immediately accused us of discrimination when we asked for a valid ID card."  Rana further denied the hotel has any policy that states that people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Balochistan and Jammu and Kashmir are not allowed to stay.

"I can show you the proof, I have many photocopies of people's ID cards from Jammu and Kashmir. This is a small issue, let's not blow it out of proportion," he added. On the hotel's official page, among the policy rules mentioned are: "No unmarried couples allowed" and "only Indian Nationals allowed."Karan Singh Rana, Station House Officer of Mukherjee Nagar Police Station, said no such instructions have been given to hotels. "The only requirement to stay at a hotel is original documents," Rana said.

Rafiq has now decided to take legal action. "There have been so many such incidents. People from Jammu and Kashmir who take admission in Delhi University and come to stay here often face discrimination at PGs. I'll go to court. People who undergo all this humiliation don't have redressal. Oyo shifts blame to hotel, hotel shifts blame to local authorities, local authorities deny involvement. There is no proper redressal mechanism. Oyo just apologises every time and that's about it."

"I want the courts to issue guidelines for states to frame redressal mechanisms in such cases, And because not everyone can approach courts or even know their rights fully, I want to create a forum of lawyers who will be available to help victims of such discrimination," Rafiq added.

Hari Harpande, Oyo's senior guest experience manager, said that there is no such policy forbidding people from Jammu and Kashmir from staying in Oyo hotels. "The property had denied entry on the basis of some restrictions by local authorities. The feedback of the concerned person has already been submitted and our ground team is working on it," Harpande said.

According to an official statement from an OYO spokesperson, this act is a serious violation of the basic principles of Oyo's ethics of doing business. The statement read: “OYO Hotels & Homes is committed to bringing quality living experiences to all our guests from around the world, irrespective of their religion, race, caste and gender. Any such action that tantamounts to discrimination is a serious violation of the basic principles of OYO's ethos of doing business."

While extending an apology, the statement also said Oyo has initiated an inquiry into the asset partner’s unilateral actions which resulted in the inconvenience caused to the customer. "As immediate steps, we have temporarily suspended operations with the asset partner." Oyo's statement further said.

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