A prominent restaurant in the Connaught Place area of New Delhi had allegedly denied entry to unprivileged children accompanied by a woman on Saturday, prompting Delhi government to order an inquiry.
Sonali Shetty, a writer, had taken some street children for a lunch to the restaurant to celebrate her husband’s birthday on Saturday. But, they were allegedly denied service by the staff of the eatery.
“I had taken 8 underprivileged children for lunch to Shiv Sagar restaurant but the staff there denied to serve us. I was also ridiculed and threatened to keep off the restaurant,” she said.
New Delhi district magistrate visited the restaurant on Sunday morning and questioned its staff. “The DM asked the waiters and other staff of the restaurant about the Saturday’s incident and noted it down,” said a restaurant staff member.
Terming the whole incident as a “failure” of the society, Shetty said that she protested outside the eatery for over 10 hours till around 12 but nothing happened.
“I will go again to the restaurant on Sunday evening with those children and buy them food there,” she said, adding that she will fight till the children are tendered an apology by the restaurant. She also alleged that the policemen who had come to the restaurant on her call also did not help her and instead “reprimanded” her and asked her to take the children to some other place.
However, the owner of Shiv Sagar restaurant in Connaught Place, Kanodia, refuted charges of discrimination against the underprivileged children and alleged the ‘aggressive’ woman Sonali Shetty demanded that food be served free of cost to them.
“We do not discriminate against anybody. We give service to everyone. But if someone enters the restaurant and behaves aggressively then we can’t give service. This is exactly what happened on Sunday, she was very aggressive. She wanted free food and we denied it,” Kanodia told the media.
Stating that the incident has been captured in the CCTV footage and investigation is going on into the same, Kanodia said Sonali became very aggressive when she was denied free food.
“When we denied giving her free food, she said she was ready to pay. She came in the restaurant and you can see how her behavior changed in 15-30 minutes. She was in the restaurant for more than an hour. My statement is we never discriminate and we serve food to everyone. We don’t want anyone to create a scene in the restaurant,” he added.
However, this contradicts the stand of one of the employees of Shiv Sagar restaurant who stated earlier that they had permitted the children to enter but refused service later as they were creating a ruckus inside and disturbing the other customers.
“It is completely untrue that we denied entry to the children, as we have it on record that we allowed them to sit inside. We also never said that we won’t provide service to the children. But then the kids were making a lot of noise, tossing things around and creating a commotion. As a restaurateur, I have the right to deny service to someone who disturbs other customers,” Roma Malhotra, an employee of the restaurant, said.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia termed the incident as an example of typical “colonial mindset” and said that if the allegations against the restaurant are found true its licence will be cancelled.
This is typical Colonial mindset. Can’t be tolerated. Have ordered DM New Delhi to enquire & report within 24 hours. https://t.co/ifixugxPRD
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) June 12, 2016
“If allegations are found true, Delhi government will cancel licence of the restaurant,” he said.
Sisodia has also ordered the district magistrate of New Delhi to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report within 24 hours.
“This is typical colonial mindset. Can’t be tolerated. Have ordered DM New Delhi to inquire & report within 24 hours,” he said in his tweet.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)