BENGALURU: A hotel that denied a room to an inter-faith couple on Tuesday has come up with a clarification that religion had nothing to do with its decision.
The Shafeek Subaida Hakkim and Divya D V – he’s a Muslim and she’s a Hindu – were turned away from Olive Residency in Bengaluru when they sought a room for the night before the woman was to attend an interview the next morning.
However, the hotel’s cashier Kalluraiah clarified that he was apprehensive since the couple sought a room for just a few hours and didn't have any luggage.
"I’d be responsible if they committed suicide or indulge in any wrongdoing in the room. When I asked them to produce ID cards, I saw that one name was Shafeek and the other was Divya. I didn't want to take any risk, so I refused to give them rooms," said Kalluriah.
"I don't know why they have made this a big issue. TV crews have been here since morning," he added.
Kalluriah said Olive Residency does not discriminate on the basis of religion. "Many Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jains come here. We have never had such issues in the past. The couple claimed to be married for more than seven years but didn't show me any government document to prove it. How can we trust unknown persons?"
Suresh Babu, owner of Olive Residency, said his staff could not be faulted. "The couple didn't give any documents to prove they had come here for an interview or that they are married. My cashier politely requested them to look for another hotel out of fear. Unfortunately they have made this into a communal issue," he said.
Shafeek Subaida Hakkim and Divya D V, from Kozhikode in Kerala, said they would approach the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for action against the hotel.
They said they did furnish proof of their marriage. "The receptionist was adamant he would not give us a room as it's not acceptable for a Hindu and a Muslim to stay together. Even though we showed proof that we were married, he refused," Shafeek said. “It was harrowing.” Divya is a PhD student at Ernakulam’s Government Law College.