Divya DV, a research scholar and her husband Shafeek Subaida Hakkim, an editor and publisher, had the most bizarre experience at a hotel in Bengaluru recently, underscoring the fact that even in 2017, inter-faith marriages are looked upon with suspicion by many.
The couple from Kerala was looking for a room as Divya had an interview lined up in the city. "I wanted the room for just two hours since my wife Divya had come here for an interview with a prestigious law college. Divya is an LLM graduate and was looking to do her PhD here," Shafeeq told India Today.
However, trouble started at the front desk of Olive Residency hotel on Annipuram Main Road in Sudhama Nagar when the receptionist asked to see their IDs and on realizing that Shafeek is a Muslim married to a Hindu, flatly refused them accommodation. He said he allegedly had "instructions" not to rent a room to an inter-faith couple "as there may be problems".
When asked to show the hotel policy in print, the receptionist refused.
The News Minute, which spoke to the hotel staff and put up a transcript of the conversation, quoted Shafeek as saying that: "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."
The receptionist is heard telling a TNM reporter that in that the village he grew up in, Hindus and Muslims did not get married.
He had yet another bizarre reason for refusing the couple accommodation: "We don't gives rooms to Muslims and Hindus who come together, because what if they go into the room and hang themselves." That the couple, who were in the city for a day, had very little luggage, was also a matter of concern for the receptionist.
Shafeeq told India Today he planned to file a complaint with the Kerala Human Rights Commission.
Hotels are known to have strange rules of admission.
Recently, spoken-word artist Nupur Saraswat was denied a room in Hyderabad because the hotel did not allow single women travellers to rent a room. She called out booking site Ibibo on social media and questioned the policy. Ibibo promptly responded to the complaint and Saraswat was given an 'upgrade' at a higher-rated hotel.