Sonali Shetty, who had brought few street children along with her to the Shiv Saga to celebrate her husband’s birthday, has been protesting outside the restaurant after the owner of the eatery allegedly discriminated against the children and refused service.
The New Delhi district magistrate (DM) visited a Connaught Place restaurant on Sunday morning to investigate allegations that the establishment refused service to underprivileged children brought in by a customer.
The DM’s visit follows the Delhi government ordering a probe into that matter after the customer, Sonali Shetty lodged a complaint and staged a protest outside the eatery.
The incident took place on Friday when Shetty wished to treat more than half a dozen children from the streets on her husband’s birthday.
“I had taken eight underprivileged children for lunch... but the staff there denied to serve us. I was also ridiculed and threatened to keep off the restaurant,” she said.
Reacting to the news, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia ordered the government probe, calling the incident an example of “colonial mindset” .
“This is typical Colonial mindset. Can’t be tolerated. Have ordered DM New Delhi to enquire & report within 24 hours,” Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted.
He further said the restaurant could lose its licence if the allegations were proved true.
A restaurant staff member said the DM questioned the waiters and other staff about the matter, taking down notes for the report.
After being turned away, Shetty stationed herself outside the restaurant in protest, and claimed she would resume her sit-in on Sunday evening too.
“They clearly told us to get (out) and also threatened to shoot me if I don’t clear out from the premises. The owner discriminated with kids and refused service citing that kids aren’t well dressed and are look dirty. Nevertheless, I came back and sat down in front of the restaurant in protest. Even the police did not support us,” she said.
The restaurant, however, countered Shetty and clarified that they had allowed the children to enter but later refused service as they were creating a ruckus inside.
“It is completely untrue that we denied entry to the children, as we have it on record that we allowed them to sit inside. We also never said that we won’t provide service to the children. But then the kids were making a lot of noise, tossing things around and creating a commotion. As a restaurateur, I have the right to deny service to someone who disturbs other customers,” Roma Malhotra, an employee of the restaurant said.
Shetty said she would return to the restaurant on Sunday with more children and sit at its door at 4 pm to continue her protest.