The National Commission for Women has taken cognisance of an alleged incident wherein a woman was denied entry at a restaurant in south Delhi’s Ansal Plaza as she was in a sari. The NCW on 23 September asked the Delhi Police chief to probe the incident, while writing to Aquila’s director to appear before it on 28 September with supporting documents and explanation.
“Reportedly, the restaurant’s dress code policy for guests allows only smart casuals and according to the eatery, sari does not fall under smart casuals. The Commission condemns the arbitrary and bizarre behaviour of restaurant staff and its policies,” the NCW statement said.
In the meantime, some netizens have raised doubts over the incident. They believe it’s a marketing gimmick by Aquila, wherein they must have thought the negative publicity will shore up their sales figures.
The woman had posted a video on social media of the 19 September incident, saying: “Sari is not allowed in Aquila restaurant as Indian sari is now not a smart outfit. What is the concrete definition of a smart outfit? Plz tell me.” In the video, a staff member can be heard saying, “We only allow smart casuals and sari does not come under smart casuals”.
As the clip went viral, the restaurant faced flak. On 22 September, it issued a statement: “At Aquila, we believe in honouring our Indian community and have always welcomed our guests in all dress codes from modern to traditional.” They claimed the woman slapped their staff member. “To tackle the situation and request the guest to leave, one of our gate managers made a statement on saris not being a part of our smart casual dress code; our whole team apologises for the same,” the statement said.
On 23 September, ABVP members protested inside the Plaza and asked the management to issue an apology.
Social media users are widely sharing the 16-second video across platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The clip has garnered more than 2.25 lakh views. Netizens were outraged after watching the video.