Delhi hoteliers refuse accommodation to Kashmiris around ‘national days’!
Srinagar: Geography and belief has become a matter of annoyance for an ordinary Kashmiri as hoteliers in the national capital refuse them accommodation, particularly during run-up to some big event or a national day — like the Republic Day next week.
Mohammad Marouf is undergoing engineering programme at Tennessee State University in USA.
Narrating his identity related ordeal to this scribe, Marouf said that he reached New Delhi on 17th of January from Srinagar to catch American Airlines flight scheduled on 20th. To make sure that he boards the intercontinental carrier in time, he left Kashmir three days earlier.
“After reaching New Delhi, I tried for accommodation in almost 11 hotels and guest-houses in different localities of Delhi. Everywhere I asked for a room, the hoteliers immediately responded in affirmative. But after checking my personal identity card, they denied me to check in for being a Kashmiri,” said Marouf.
“Satish, the manager of an ordinary guest-house was bold enough to put my identity aside and board me in. But he demanded a tariff much higher than that of a five star hotel, a price far beyond my capacity as a student,” said Marouf.
“By then it was 11 at night. Seeing my pathetic situation a Sikh gentleman took me to a nearby Gurudwara where he fed and lodged me for the night,” narrated Marouf.
A similar story was recounted by Mohammad Muntazir, a student of medicine at a Government Medical College, from the Valley.
“As I enquired about the availability of a room in a hotel in Karolbagh area, I was immediately handed over the keys. Half-an-hour later, a housekeeper from the hotel knocked and asked me to come to the reception for registering my address details. They also sought for a copy of my identity card. Seeing my Kashmiri identity, my luggage was thrown out of the hotel,” said Muntazir.
Muntazir said that he argued but was manhandled and abused.
“The policemen standing acted as quiet bystanders,” he alleged.
“I then went to Jama Masjid area, (a Muslim ghetto in old Delhi) where a Kashmiri businessman took me to his house,” said Muntazir.
Asked why he did not try for a room at J&K Hospitality and Protocol Department owned lodging facility in New Delhi, Muntazir said “I tried but they denied, and were more impertinent then the hoteliers I had met.”
Ghulam Mohammad, Muntazir’s host, is a mutton dealer from Srinagar living in Delhi for the past 28 years.
He said “Kashmirs are usually the unwelcome customers in hotels cross India, especially during the national days. The Indian society is now much divided than ever, and Kashmiri Muslims are always viewed with suspicion,” he said.