No entry, clubs on Gurugram’s MG Road tell single women
Single women are being denied entry into pubs and nightclubs on MG Road in Gurugram after the police conducted raids in the area on July 3 to check alleged solicitation and immoral trafficking, and club owners decided that the easiest way to avoid a repeat was to not allow any single women into their premises.
Most clubs and pubs on MG Road are not granting access to women unless they are accompanied by their husbands, and are able to furnish proof of the fact that they are married. Single women, or women accompanied by a friend or partner, are all being turned away by clubs citing a “no-single-women” policy. The move has not gone down well with women in the city who say the practice is discriminatory.
“I have often been told that soliciting in a very subtle nature happens at MG Road. I have seen a lot of women around. But even if this is the case, it’s ridiculous to bar women. Restricting women’s mobility just doesn’t help in improving any situation. Instead, these curbs become problematic for single women,” said Tanya Sharma, who teaches theatre at a private school in the city.
Hindustan Times visited five pubs and clubs in three malls over two consecutive nights for a spot check. HT found that the activity in these clubs was picking up once again, with one difference. There were no women around. When an HT reporter tried to enter a club at DT Mall alone around 11pm, she was turned away by a bouncer who told her that only married couples were allowed inside.
At MGF Mall, the security staff at another pub told the team that only married couples could enter. “Are you with your husband? Show me the proof,” a bouncer said. At Sahara Mall, the reporter wasn’t even allowed to enter the mall . Men were walking in without any checks.
Lalit Singh, who has been running a club on MG Road for the past 14 years said, “We have barred the entry of single women in our clubs since the arrests were made. Our business is as good as closed, if the presence of women is made out to be an issue. But we don’t have a choice. We are suffering huge losses.”
Another club owner on MG Road said: “We do not want more trouble. We do not want police to suspect us because of presence of single women. They will raid us and book us for immoral trafficking. Also, there are strict directions from the police to ensure no single women are allowed in the club though they did not give us any written orders,”
Despite repeated phone calls and messages, Sunil Yadav, the security officer at Sahara mall, did not reply.
Police commissioner KK Rao supervised the July 3 raid in which two club owners, two managers, two dancers, and one bouncer were arrested. Following the arrests, the owners of 15 nightclubs at MG Road were called by the assistant commissioner of police (DLF) to his office and were warned against indulging in any illegal activity. Club owners have refuted allegations of being party to criminal activity of any kind. They also say they have decided not to entertain single women for fear of harassment by the police.
“We do not allow single women in our clubs (now). Only married couples will be allowed or women who are accompanied by their fiancé. We check the body language of the couple, their IDs and overall profile before we grant them entry,” said Naresh Kumar, the owner of a club on MG Road.
Rao denied that the police had passed any order restricting the entry of single women into these clubs.
“I have not passed any order against entry of single women in clubs. That said, I am well aware that illegal activities take place in such areas which makes them unsafe for women. Strict action will be taken against those found indulging in any such activities. We will make these places safe enough for them to be visited by families,” he added.