Disability bar cloud on hotel
New Delhi, March 7: A disability rights activist has claimed he was not allowed to enter a posh lounge bar in south Delhi last night because he was in a wheelchair, prompting the Delhi government to order an inquiry.
"Was declined entry at Keya Delhi, DLF Promenade, because they don't allow 'disabled' inside!" tweeted 26-year-old Nipun Malhotra at 10 pm, setting off a flurry of activity on social media.
Keya, which is owned by celebrity chef Marut Sikka and wife Anusuiya, has denied the allegation. The Vasant Kunj restaurant claimed it was forced to restrict entry because of huge Holi crowds, which was why Malhotra and his group of friends could not be allowed in.
Delhi's deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia has asked the sub-divisional magistrate, Vasant Vihar, to probe the incident and submit a report by Monday.
Malhotra, the co-founder of Nipman Foundation, a disability rights advocacy group, told this newspaper he had arthrogryposis, a congenital disorder marked by joint contracture and muscle shortening. Those suffering from the disease are unable to flex and extend affected joints.
Asked about the incident, he claimed he was stopped by security personnel outside Keya, where he had gone out to dine with a large group of friends.
"As a policy, we don't allow people on a wheelchair," Malhotra claimed he was told when he asked why he was being shut out. He also alleged that the security personnel "started pulling" his wheelchair when he refused to budge.
Anusuiya told this newspaper: "It is unthinkable for me to treat a person with a disability in a way that Mr. Malhotra has claimed we have. He has dined with us before --- he had his food and drinks with us. If it was company policy not to allow people with disabilities to enter our premises, how did he eat here?
"He had come with four others while around eight of his friends were already inside. Because of Holi and the huge crowds that were coming in, we had to restrict entry. His entire group was denied entry, as we were being cautious about allowing stag entries. He was not singled out in any way."
Malhotra, however, claimed many stags were already in the restaurant and that his own friends, five boys, and three girls, had been allowed in.
"I was shocked," he said, claiming the restaurant manager later "tried to flip the argument by saying 'we do not allow stag entries'. I had to point out to him that if you don't allow stag entries, then how do I have eight friends inside out of which there are five boys and three girls?"
Criticism against Keya began trending on Twitter under the hashtag #shameonkeya soon after Malhotra posted his tweet, forcing the lounge bar to clarify under the hashtag #KeyaClarifies that it was a "disabled friendly restaurant".
It also tweeted the reason why Malhotra and his friends had to be denied entry: "Today being Holi, we were denying stag entries, and you were part of a stag group that was turned away.
"We have received you warmly earlier, would love to receive you again in future."
Source: Telegraph India