Updated: September 24, 2021 10:01:53 am
A Delhi restaurant has received flak for allegedly refusing entry to a woman as she was wearing a saree. As a short clip went viral, the restaurant issued a statement that the video was misleading and the woman was stopped for misbehaving with a staffer. The woman and her daughter, however, have dismissed the claim and said the staff was rude to them.
Anita Choudhury shared a video of her experience at Aquila, a posh south Delhi restaurant at Ansal Plaza. Posting a clip of the incident that took place on September 19, the woman wrote, “Saree is not allowed in Aquila restaurant as Indian saree is now not a smart outfit. What is the concrete definition of a smart outfit? Plz tell me.”
In the video, a woman employee of the hotel can be heard saying, “We only allow smart casuals and saree does not come under smart casuals”. The woman tagged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Union ministers Amit Shah and Hardeep Singh Puri on Twitter.
Watch the video here:
“I have never been insulted like this. I also feel hurt,” she wrote online. She also posted a picture of herself in the saree saying she was at the restaurant to celebrate her daughter’s birthday.
In a longer version of the brawl posted by a journalist, Prabhakar Kr Mishra on Twitter, a male staff can be heard saying that the rights of admission are reserved. As the argument continued, he also said that they cannot allow them to enter the premises owing to their underaged daughter who was accompanying them.
अकीला रेस्टोरेंट, अंसल प्लाज़ा। इनका कहना है कि साड़ी पहनकर रेस्टोरेंट में नहीं आ सकते! हमारा रेस्टोरेंट है नियम हम तय करेंगे ‘we allow only smart casuals and Saari is not smart casual’ @anitachoudhary @rohini_sgh @AnushaSoni23 @CPDelhi @ArvindKejriwal pic.twitter.com/NepSK3qKLq
— Prabhakar Kr Mishra (@PMishra_Journo) September 19, 2021
After drawing flak online, the restaurant in a statement to IndianExpress.com said: “We have been patiently observing everything and now we would like to tell our side of the story with valid proofs.”
Claiming that the allegations were untrue, the restaurant said: “We ‘ALLOW’ people in sarees and the accusations the person has made is just to defame our brand because we didn’t tolerate her misbehaving with our staff.” They also provided two video showing how other guests have visited the restaurant wearing sarees. They also responded with CCTV footage that allegedly showed the guest slapping their manager. According to them, the “10 second” clip posted by Choudhary was part of a conversation that lasted for “one hour”.
“A guest visited the restaurant and was politely requested to wait at the gate as there was no reservation under her name. However, while we discussed internally as to where we could seat them, the guest entered the restaurant and began to fight and abuse our staff,” they said in a statement explaining what led to the altercation.
“To tackle the situation and request the guest to leave, one of our gate managers made a statement on sarees not being a part of our smart casual dress code and our whole team apologies for the same,” they added.
When asked about the comments made by the staff about the age of one of the customers, the restaurant spokesperson clarified that in accordance to the excise laws in Delhi person below the age of 25 are not allowed to enter any pubs or clubs. The age was recently reduced to 21 by Delhi government, however, the restaurant claimed the young guest was still underage.
“Aquila is a homegrown brand and each member of the team stands tall as a proud Indian. Our gate manager’s statement in no way is a representation of the entire team’s view on the dress code,” they clarified.
IndianExpress.com reached to Choudhary, who was not available for a comment despite several attempts.
However, the woman shared screenshots of her reservation with the restaurant on Twitter, countering the eatery’s claim. “They are saying, reservation has not done or done for 1pm. Again its a big lie from #Aquila. this is the proof. If some one is putting point of Aquila must go though the fact not with the fabricated video,” she wrote.
They are saying,reservation has not done or done for 1pm. again its a big lie from #Aquila .this is the proof. If some one is putting point of Aquila must go though the fact not with the fabricated video. @TimesNow @TNNavbharat @PMishra_Journo @CPDelhi @AmitShah #Sareeisourpride pic.twitter.com/VMvs0pbrmW
— anita choudhary (@anitachoudhary) September 23, 2021
She also retweeted a statement by the daughter, who claimed that the argument began after their turned up little later than their time of reservation. The girl admitted that her mother “pushed” the manager but no slapping was involved. Claiming that both her parents were treated “horribly by the staff constantly”, she alleged that the restaurant’s bouncers “manhandled” her mother.
The girl dismissed the restaurant’s claim about the age, saying that she knows about “all the 17-19 years old kids you serve alcohol to”. Adding that instead of all their attempts to obfuscate, the restaurant should just simply apologise.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Thursday asked the Delhi Police commissioner to probe the incident and take necessary action in the matter, PTI reported.
The NCW also said that they have written to the marketing and public relations director of the restaurant to appear before the Commission on September 28 along with supporting documents and explanation.
“Saree is a part of Indian culture and women in India majorly wear saree, therefore denying any woman entry to a restaurant on the basis of her attire is a violation of her right to live with dignity,” the statement said. The NCW also condemned the arbitrary and bizarre behaviour of the restaurant staff and its policies.
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