Asked why they thought such a ‘dress code’ was necessary at a pub, the manager simply said, “Dress codes are very common at posh pubs."

Posh Hyd pub asks woman to remove hijab says its against their dress code
news Discrimination Sunday, September 01, 2019 - 15:35

Miriam* was in for a rude shock when a manager at Air Live, a popular pub in Hyderabad asked her to remove her hijab, claiming the headscarf was not in accordance to the ‘dress code’ followed at the place. While shoes for men is a common rule in many high-end pubs in the country, Miriam says this was the first time she was asked to remove her hijab, without taking into consideration her religious sentiments.

Making it clear that this was a case of discrimination because of her religious clothing, the staff at the pub allegedly told Miriam and her friends that if she did not want to remove her hijab, they could sit on a sofa on the far end where they wouldn’t be ‘be visible’ to others coming into the pub.

On Friday, Miriam had come to Air Live, a posh pub in Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills, along with her friend Kunal Pandey and another female friend. They were sitting at the bar counter when one of the managers approached Kunal and told him to ask his friend to go to the washroom and remove her hijab.

“I was really surprised,” says Miriam, “I still do not understand why they thought Kunal had any kind of authority over me and why they didn’t consider confronting me directly on the issue.” The staff then continued addressing Kunal, she says.

“I was shocked. I had been to Air Live a couple of times before, once even with my mother who was then wearing a saree. No one had then mentioned anything about a dress code. I told the manager that the rule was disgusting and everyone had the freedom to wear whatever they chose. He then asked one of the staff members to call the bouncers,” Kunal says.

Kunal, an employee with an IT firm in the city, retorted saying there was no need to call bouncers as they were not planning to stay at the pub any longer.

“I was infuriated and had an altercation with the manager. I told him that I would post about the incident on social media and that’s when the manager slightly mellowed down and another staff intervened. He said we could sit on a sofa, away from the bar counter, without having to remove the hijab. Miriam had by then left the pub and was looking for a cab,” Kunal adds.

Miriam says that this isn’t the first time she has faced a similar situation for her choice of clothing. “A few years back, I was stopped at the entrance of a pub for wearing a hijab. The guard stopped me and said I couldn’t go inside because of the head scarf. My other friends have also faced similar situations and have dealt with a lot of glances and unwanted stares at public places,” Miriam says.

Meanwhile, staff at Air Live says the ‘dress code’ has been in place for a long time now. Speaking to TNM, a floor manager confirmed the incident and said according to their ‘dress code’, women are not allowed to wear sarees and hijabs inside the pub. “Men are also not allowed to come in chappals. We don’t allow such clothes at the pub according to our policy,” he said.

Asked why they thought such a ‘dress code’ was necessary at a pub, the manager said there was no one particular reason. “Dress codes are very common at posh pubs in the city and we are also following the same.”

*Name changed

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