A day after Shiv Sagar restaurant in Connaught Place allegedly denied entry to unprivileged children who were accompanied by a woman, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Sunday ordered the New Delhi district magistrate (DM) to inquire into the incident.
“This is typical colonial mindset. Can’t be tolerated. Have ordered DM New Delhi to enquire & report within 24 hours,” Sisodia tweeted. Terming the act “inhumane”, Sisodia said, “If the allegations are proven to be true, then we will revoke the licence of the restaurant and take action.”
On Sunday evening, however, the government agreed to extend the time given to the DM to conduct the inquiry. District Magistrate, New Delhi, Abhishek Singh said, “We sought more time to conduct the inquiry. Statements of all witnesses could not be recorded as some of them were not available today.”
Singh said the CCTV footage of the restaurant was examined and the children could be seen sitting at the table for about an hour-and-a-half without service. He added that the sub-divisional magistrate had recorded statements of the complainant, Sonali Shetty, the restaurant owner and staff.
Singh added that the restaurant had denied discriminating against the children and said Shetty had demanded the children be given free food. “We need to record the statements of some independent witnesses. Until then, it will be the word of one person against another,” said Singh. He added that the statements of only three of the eight children, who accompanied Shetty to the restaurant, could be recorded Sunday.
Shetty had come to Shiv Sagar restaurant at Janpath along with her husband and nine year-old-son Saturday evening. According to eyewitnesses, she took eight street children along with her and asked the restaurant manager to serve food to them. Soon, a heated argument broke out between Shetty and the manager, following which she called police.
Eyewitnesses said two PCR vans reached the spot and tried to pacify Sonali. She then went to Saravana Bhavan, next to Shiv Sagar, and bought food for
Shetty told The Indian Express, “On Saturday, we were denied entry into the restaurant as I was accompanied by street children. The hotel staff also threatened and misbehaved with me when I made a PCR call.” She claimed that policemen who reached the restaurant after her call did not help her and asked her to leave.
The spokesperson of Shiv Sagar, Roma Malhotra, claimed Shetty insisted that the restaurant provide free food to the children.
“The allegations are baseless. She was never denied entry. However, she asked us to serve free food to the children and we refused to do so. She then called police,” said Malhotra.
Police said as they have received complaints from both parties, they would take legal opinion and proceed in the matter as per the law.
Meanwhile, Shetty claimed she had to gone to the restaurant again on Sunday with the children. “We were denied entry once again, following which I took the children to a nearby outlet and fed them,” she claimed.