NEW DELHI: A family, who was out for a birthday dinner on Saturday evening, was allegedly pushed out of a restaurant in central Delhi’s Connaught Place, after they decided to include a bunch of street children in their celebrations.
The restaurant owners, however, denied the charges, saying the woman started abusing the staff after they refused to give free food to the underprivileged children.
Delhi’s deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, has ordered a magisterial probe into the matter.
Sonali Shetty, a resident of Dehradun, had flown to Delhi, with her nine-year-old son to celebrate her husband’s birthday. They had come for a family dinner to Shiv Sagar, at Janpath, when they met a few street children at the traffic signal and decided to invite them to dinner.
Shetty, however, claims the “poor” children were not allowed to enter the restaurant, and the staff manhandled and abused them. “We just wanted to feed the children as a part of a family celebration, but the restaurant pushed us out because these children were poor. Even after so many years of independence, our mindset hasn’t changed. How will we develop if we continue to judge people on the basis of their socioeconomic background,” said Shetty.
The restaurant denies the charges. “We do not discriminate against anybody, but we do not want anyone to create a scene in the restaurant.
“The woman told my staff to feed the children for free because they are underprivileged. When we refused, she created a scene. She misbehaved with our employee which is we asked her to leave,” said Vidur Kanodia, owner of the restaurant.
The restaurant staff, however, had a different story to tell.
“We have CCTV footage which shows that the family and the children were allowed inside. The children, however, started creating ruckus. For the benefit of other customers, as a restaurateur I have the right to deny service to people who cause inconvenience to others,” a senior staff said, on condition of anonymity.
Shetty said after they were pushed out of Shiv Sagar, they took the children to a neighbouring restaurant where they had dinner and paid the bill. She then sat at the entrance of Shiv Sagar in protest. She was later removed from there.
She alleged the police also refused to help her and did not file a complaint against the restaurant staff for misbehaviour.
Deputy commissioner of police ( New Delhi), Jatin Narwal, said they had received complaints from both parties and an inquiry was on.
On Sunday, Shetty continued the protest against the restaurant. Around 4 pm, she went with around 25 children to a fast-food restaurant and fed the children there. She later took them shopping.
Deputy CM, Manish Sisodia, has ordered a probe against the restaurant. “This is typical Colonial mindset. Can’t be tolerated. Have ordered DM New Delhi to enquire and report within 24 hours (sic),” tweeted Sisodia.
The restaurant owners submitted CCTV footage to the subdivisional magistrate on Sunday, denying the allegations.