The complainant says he was denied service, as he was clad in a saffron dhoti.

Kerala man denied service at 4-star hotel because he looked like an auto driverImage for representation only
news Human Rights Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 13:59

A 4-star hotel in Thiruvananthapuram city reportedly denied service to a man clad in a saffron dhoti, as the staff thought he ‘looked’ like an auto-driver. The state Human Rights Commission on Tuesday ordered an enquiry into the matter based on a complaint filed on 21 January.

A native of Thiruvananthapuram and an accountant by profession, Hari alleged that he was denied service by the hotel, as he was ‘dressed like an auto-driver’.

Speaking on conditions of anonymity, an official with the Commission told The News Minute that the complainant had accused the management of refusing him service. The hotel had hence breached his right to food and had also insulted ‘saffron’, a color so integral to the Indian culture, Hari said in his complaint.

"On 20 January, Hari and his friend were on their way back from an ashram visit, and hence clad in saffron dhoti. They entered Hotel White Dammar for dinner. But the staff refused to serve them, saying that it was only auto-drivers who wore saffron dhoti. Even after Hari spoke to the owner of the hotel on phone, he was met with the same response," says the official. 

When The News Minute contacted the hotel, its General Manager (GM) Anil was quite open about his ‘displeasure’ at a customer walking into the hotel clad in saffron dhoti. He categorically refuted allegations that the hotel had refused food to the customer.

"He walked in wearing that dhoti. Our rules don't permit entry for such customers into our Executive Bar. We only let people in trousers to enter the bar. White dhotis are allowed, but not saffron or printed ones. We don't however deny them service in other areas of the hotel, including the restaurant. The dress code is applicable only to the Executive Bar," the GM clarified. 

The hotel's executive bar is located on the first floor, while the restaurant is located on the second floor. 

Asked about the ‘auto-driver’ remark, the GM chose to blame it on the ‘imagination’ of Hari and the media:

"Our security guards told him that he could not walk into the bar in those clothes. He must have come up only till the reception. He was not allowed further entry. Our staff would never have made such a remark.”

Anil also went on to justify such discrimination, saying many hotels and clubs too have strict dress codes in place, and refuse entry to all those who do not follow it. 

"In most star hotels -unlike ours- even regular white dhotis are not allowed. We allow them entry in all other areas. During the Sabarimala season, we have customers who walk in wearing black dhotis, but we never refuse them entry,” he reiterates.

Anil was however quick to assure the hotel’s whole-hearted cooperation with the Commission’s enquiry. He also expressed the management’s readiness to submit the requisite CCTV footage of the said incident, as demanded by the Commission.  

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