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A Delhi University student has alleged that his father and his sister who had come to visit him from Jammu and Kashmir were denied stay at an OYO hotel in North Delhi on Saturday, February 15.
Nauman Rafiq had booked a double occupancy room at OYO 49019 Aasha Residency in Vijay Nagar for 15-17 February, however, on arrival, the hotel staff stated that guests from Jammu and Kashmir are "not allowed to check-in."
Rafiq said that the hotel staff informed him of OYO's policies on room restrictions to "people from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh," however, when Rafiq asserted that he is a resident of Jammu and not the aforementioned countries, the hotel authorities retorted saying they had "orders" from the Delhi Police not to allow accommodation to Kashmiri residents in the wake of protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), reported India Today.
Nauman described that the hotel staff did not even care to check his father's ID before outrightly rejecting them on the pretence of complying with the orders.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, OYO denied putting such policies in place.
"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.
We have 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. We sincerely apologize for this unfortunate experience,'' the OYO spokesperson told The Logical Indian.
The hotel's manager, Rahul Gautam, admitted they were denying stay to customers from Jammu and Kashmir but blamed it on the "verbal orders" of the Delhi Police, reported ThePrint.
"Our hotel is near a police ground, and they come by to conduct checks often," Gautam said. "During one such check, a beat police officer verbally told us that while the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests are going on and the Shaheen Bagh issue remains, we should not allow customers from Kashmir and Ladakh."
The Delhi Police, however, has denied having issued verbal instructions to turn away Indian customers due to CAA protests or for any other reason.
"We have not instructed any hotel to turn away Indian customers due to CAA protests or for any other reason," said the Station House Officer of Mukherjee Nagar, Karan Singh Rana.
Police officials of Mukherjee Nagar which is the nearest police station to the hotel told the media that the hotel staff denied to Rafiq because he did not furnish the original ID proof, but the student denies this.
"This is a blatant lie. They did not even ask for the ID proof, they just asked where it was from and denied it on that basis," Rafiq said, reported several media reports.
Infuriated with authorities passing the buck and a lack of proper redressal mechanism, Rafiq has decided to take legal action.
"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.
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