OYO denies room to Kashmiri in Delhi, cites 'WhatsApp text from govt.' as reason

Action will be taken against manager of the hotel in Jasola Vihar, says company.

August 20, 2019 12:58 am | Updated 07:57 am IST - New Delhi

A 24-year-old Kashmiri doctor was allegedly denied a room by an online hotel aggregator in Jasola Vihar on Saturday night after the manager checked his Aadhaar details.

OYO Rooms said they have taken disciplinary action against the hotel manager.

Malik Aabid, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, said his friend from Kashmir, a doctor, was denied a room at the hotel.

He said his friend, who does not wish to be named, had come from the Valley to the city on Saturday for work. “He was supposed to stay with me at my rented accommodation in Jamia Nagar but decided to book a hotel because my flat was shared by a couple of other persons,” Mr. Aabid said.

He added that at 9 p.m., he booked the OYO flagship in his friend’s name and got a confirmation. “My friend and I went to the hotel and informed the manager about the booking and he confirmed it. He then asked for my friend’s identity card,” Mr. Aabid said.

My friend then produced his Aadhaar card which had his Jammu and Kashmir address. “The manager’s expressions changed and he made a call to someone. Over the phone, he was seen asking permission to allow a Kashmiri man. The person on the other side denied permission. The manager then said they have received a few WhatsApp messages which were apparently from the government stating that people from Jammu and Kashmir should not be allowed in their hotels. I also spoke to the person whom the manager had called and he too said the same,” Mr. Aabid said.

After “trying to put sense into the manager”, the two friends left the property and went to another friend’s house where the doctor is now staying. “I didn’t book another place because I was not sure whether they would allow my friend,” he said, adding that they were shocked as something like this had never happened with them or with any of their friends.

When contacted, OYO spokesperson said, “We have initiated an inquiry into the manager’s unilateral actions based on an unverified message that was circulated to a few hotels, which caused inconvenience to the customer. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination and will take immediate strict action, which can also lead to the termination of the contract with asset owners.”

An OYO employee, on the condition of anonymity, said disciplinary action has been taken against the manager and he has been instructed to “verify the source and authenticity of such messages before any such action”.

Hotels in Paharganj

The Hindu visited a few other OYO hotels and a number of others in Paharganj where the owners said they have been accepting residents from the Valley as long as they have a valid identity proof, which is applicable to all customers.

However, an employee of one Avtar Hotel was reluctant to accept a Kashmiri customer.

“Beat officers have asked us not to entertain people from Kashmir, Nepal and Bangladesh around August 15,” he alleged.

He then called another person and sought permission for the same after which he agreed.

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