NEWS
20/08/2019 1:29 PM IST | Updated 20/08/2019 3:43 PM IST

Kashmiris Denied Hotel Rooms In Delhi, OYO Begins Inquiry

Twitter users alleged that some hotels in Delhi cited a "government notification" to deny rooms to Kashmiris.

MANJUNATH KIRAN via Getty Images
Activists from the Alternative Law Forum and other organisations take part in a protest in Bengaluru against the abrogation of Article 370 in Bangalore.

Addressing the nation three days after the government abrogated Article 370, Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended the move, saying that the rights of all citizens are now similar. But people actually living in Kashmir are still facing massive restrictions, and thousands of people have been detained, with their families in the dark about where they are.

There is also a fog of misinformation and fake messages doing the rounds, exacerbated by the government’s control on sources of information from Kashmir. 

One effect of this seems to be playing out in Delhi, where some people on Twitter have alleged that Kashmiris are facing discrimination from hotel staff. 

Some hotels in Delhi, they have tweeted, are refusing accommodation to Kashmiris despite prior booking following a “government order”.

Oyo Rooms, which was named in at least two of the tweets, told HuffPost India that it has initiated an inquiry into “the manager’s unilateral actions based on an unverified message that was circulated to a few hotels”.  

“We do not tolerate any form of discrimination across all our properties and take immediate strict action, which can also lead to the termination of the contract with asset owners. Any such action that is tantamount to discrimination is a serious violation of the basic principles of OYO’s work policies,” it said in an emailed statement.

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The Delhi Police’s spokesperson’s phone was unavailable. HuffPost India has also reached out to the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India for its stand and will update the story when they respond.

Apart from the experience with OYO, other Kashmiris claimed to have faced similar discrimination in Delhi hotels on the basis of a “government order”. HuffPost India has contacted some other hotels in Delhi to confirm the origin and veracity of this notice. The Leela Palace declined to comment and other hotels have not responded yet.

While the centre has begun easing some restrictions in Kashmir and lifting curbs, phone lines are still snapped and curbs on the internet are still in place in most parts of the state. Information trickling in through people who have either travelled out of the state or journalists on the ground, including those published by HuffPost India, present a grim picture of protests, stone-pelting and arbitrary arrests.

Reports from the region, even two weeks after the announcement, still point to a state under lockdown. While schools reopened in Srinagar on Monday, parents kept their children home, fearing unrest. Parents, according to Reuters, said their children would stay home until cellular networks are restored and they can be in contact with them.

Protests have also erupted in Kashmir and officials told Reuters that security forces had been pelted with stones on 47 occasions on Saturday night, and more than 20 on Sunday. One said the protests were growing more intense. Police has responded with pellet guns, irritant pepper grenades and tear gas.