Jaipur hotel denies room to interfaith couple, cites ‘policy, police instructions’

Hamza Khan
Calling it “shocking,” the woman said, “We are living in the 21st century and I don’t know why people still have this notion of dividing people on the basis of religion.” (Representational Image)

A Muslim man and Hindu woman have alleged that a hotel in Jaipur stopped them from checking in on the ground that they hail from different religions.

The incident took place on Saturday morning when the man, a 31-year-old assistant professor based in Udaipur, tried to check into one of Oyo’s SilverKey hotels in Jaipur. “I reached Jaipur on Saturday morning and my friend was supposed to reach later from Delhi,” the assistant professor said.

“I had booked a room for two in the hotel through a travel app. I reached the hotel somewhere around 8-9 am. The receptionist then asked me about the other person who was to check in with me and I gave them my friend’s name, but to my shock I was told that ‘this is a problem. Both of you are from different religions, we can’t check you in’,” the man told The Indian Express.

READ | Manager who denied room to Kashmiri man in Delhi warned, says OYO

The assistant professor said he told the staff that “there is no such rule, and it didn’t say so anywhere — either on the app or on the hotel website — and that it goes against the Constitution which guarantees equality”. “But they claimed that they were only acting on instructions from the local police. I asked them to give it in writing but they refused,” he said.

“I insisted that there is no such rule or law anywhere, which prohibits people from different religions and gender to stay together, but they didn’t relent,” he said. He then raised the issue with the booking app, which refunded his booking amount, “compensated” him with nearly the same amount, and also booked him a room in a different hotel for free, albeit of an “inferior quality”, the assistant professor claimed.

Calling it “shocking,” the woman said, “We are living in the 21st century and I don’t know why people still have this notion of dividing people on the basis of religion.” She said the hotel may have accepted a Sikh and a Hindu but had an issue because it was a Hindu and a Muslim. She said they have known each other for over a decade but religion never came between them.

Govardhan Singh, manager of the Jaipur hotel which denied entry to the couple, said, “We don’t allow couples of different religions (to stay together). It is the policy of the hotel as well as the instructions by the police.” He claimed that such instructions have been given to him by his “seniors” and by the police “both in writing and orally”, but did not provide the written communication from the police. He claimed that the receptionist conveyed the same to the customer “politely”.

Jaipur Police Commissioner Anand Shrivastava denied that the police have issued any such instructions. “No such instructions, either written or verbal, have been issued. They are merely misusing the name of police,” Shrivastava said.

In a statement shared with The Indian Express, Oyo said that, “We have initiated an inquiry into the manager’s actions which resulted in the inconvenience caused to the customer. We sincerely apologise for this unfortunate experience.”

“Oyo Hotels and Homes is committed to bringing quality living experiences to our guests from around the world, irrespective of their race, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, age, etc. 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.