If we had to pick two adjectives to describe this incident, they would have to be 'bigoted' and ‘bizarre’. A hotel in Bengaluru denied a room to a married couple on Tuesday for the unpardonable crime of following two different faiths.
Shafeek Subaida Hakkim and Divya DV, a married couple from Kerala who were in Bengaluru for some work, were refused a room at Olive Residency on Annipuram Main Road in Sudhama Nagar because he’s a Muslim and she’s a Hindu.
Speaking to TNM, Shafeek says that the receptionist at the hotel refused to give them a room after he saw their ID cards.
“He noted the names in the register and then realised that I am a Muslim, while my wife is Hindu. He asked us if we were married as we follow different religions. When I confirmed that we were in fact married, he refused to give us a single room saying that it is not acceptable for a Muslim and a Hindu to stay together,” Shafeek says.
Shafeek says that he then questioned the receptionist as to why his religion should matter for allotting a room, to which he was not given a proper answer.
“The receptionist just kept saying that since I am a Muslim and Divya is a Hindu, he could not give us a room together. It was already 7am and Divya had an interview at 2 pm. We were helpless and shocked. We could not waste any more time arguing with the man and decided to look for a room in another hotel,” Shafeek says.
“I told the receptionist that I would file a police complaint and yet he refused to budge. We did not have time so we have not filed a complaint with the police yet,” Shafeek says.
The receptionist, for his part, had a strange justification for not allowing an interfaith couple to stay at the property.
When TNM contacted the hotel, the receptionist accepted that he was the person who refused a room to the couple. He also said that he refused to give them a room because the man was a Muslim and the woman was a Hindu.
“His ID said Shafeek, her ID said Divya. That’s why I got suspicious, and I told them I wouldn’t give them a room and sent them away,” the receptionist said.
He further added, “We don’t gives rooms to Muslims and Hindus who come together, because what if they go into the room and hang themselves… Why do we need that trouble.”
When asked about why he was worried about suicide, the staffer claimed that such incidents had happened in other lodges in the city.
“I’m not saying they’ll commit suicide because they’re a Hindu-Muslim couple. But ordinarily, in villages, it doesn’t happen. I grew up in a village. There, Hindus don’t get married to Muslim women, and Muslims don’t get married to Hindu women,” he said.
“Also they didn’t have much luggage. They just had one bag each. The man had one bag and the woman had one bag. They didn’t have any large suitcases. That’s why I got suspicious, and didn’t give them a room,” he claimed.
Listen to the hotel receptionist's audio here.