In a bizarre incident, a woman was allegedly denied entry into a Delhi-based restaurant for wearing a saree. She was told that her attire did not fall under the category of "smart casual" and the restaurant only allowed people dressed in ''smart casuals''.
Journalist Anita Chaudhary uploaded the video of her bad experience on her various social media platforms, which later went viral. She was aggrieved with the staff's behaviour and also called out to the eatery.
"Listen carefully to this video as there is a restaurant in Delhi where saree is not a smart outfit," she wrote in the caption of the video.
"The humiliation that happened because of my saree yesterday was bigger and heart-wrenching than any other insult that happened to me till now," she added.
"Saree is not allowed in Aquila restaurant as Indian Saree is now not a smart outfit. What is the concrete definition of Smart outfit please tell me," she tweeted, tagging Home Minister Amit Shah, Delhi Police, National Commission for Women, among others.
She also took to Facebook shaming the restaurant while alleging that she has not been insulted for her attire like this before and feels extremely hurt. "We argued over saree, and a lot of excuses were made, but I was not allowed to enter the restaurant because the Indian attire -- saree is not a smart outfit," she posted on Facebook.
Choudhary is a creative director at Doordarshan National, as per her Facebook profile. In her post, she also uploaded a purported video arguing with the staff, alongside pictures of herself in Indian attire.
The incident that took place on September 19, has drawn massive flak from people on social media and food aggregator platforms like Zomato, demanding strict action against the restaurant.
"Who decides sari is not 'smart wear'? I have worn sarees at the best restaurants in the US, UAE as well in UK. No one stopped me. And some Aquila Restaurant dictates a dress code in India and decides saree is not 'smart enough'? Bizarre," author and speaker Shefali Vaidya wrote.
"The problem is not Saree. It is the mentality of an Indian slave protecting the right of entry to some exclusive, whites only pre-1947 club. The restaurant owners don't realise it - but our entire country is like this. If it's Indian it is shameful. If it is western it's admirable," one of the Twitter users wrote.
"Denying entry because the patron is dressed in torn, shredded jeans or is wearing inappropriate footwear is perfectly understandable, but refusing entry for being draped in a saree is absolute stupidity. The management of the restaurant-bar should be strictly penalised for this action," another user wrote.
Restaurant Issues Clarification
However, soon after the incident, the eatery issued a statement telling their side of the story. Taking to the Instagram handle, Aquila posted a clarification post. They also attached two snippets recorded from their CCTV camera. In one of the slips, the footage showed the customer slapping the manager, while the second clip displayed many customers entering the eatery premises wearing traditional outfits, Times Now reported.
As per the restaurant's statement, the staff member's comment on saree not being a "smart casual" was a way to tackle the whole situation. They also claimed the incident was misrepresented and the establishment has always welcomed their customers in all dress forms-be it traditional or modern.
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