Oyo Rooms: India room rental service delists Delhi hotel after it refuses accommodation to Kashmiri Muslim man

A viral video that shows a KashmiriMuslim man being refused lodging at a hotel in India’s capital Delhi despite having booking details and identification proof has sparked outrage.

The video of the undated incident was shared on Twitter by Nasir Khuehami, the national spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Students’ Association, on Wednesday.

“Delhi Hotel denies accommodation to Kashmiri man, despite provided id [sic] and other documents. Is being a Kashmiri a Crime?” he asked.

The incident has led to Oyo Rooms, an Indian multinational room rental service under which the hotel was registered, delisting it from its platform and issuing a statement saying it was “appalled” at the incident.

In the two-minute video, an unidentified Kashmiri man can be heard asking the receptionist of Hotel Pleasant Inn, located in northwest Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area, why he was being denied a room despite having made the booking.

He tells the woman in the video that he had booked a room through the Oyo Rooms website and can be seen providing her with his identification papers.

The receptionist then makes a call to the hotel owner and informs the man that Delhi police had asked them to deny accommodation to anyone carrying identification from Jammu and Kashmir.

The claim was refuted by the police in a tweet, in which it said willfully misrepresenting them can attract penal action. The police also said “no such direction” to deny accommodation has been given by it.

Oyo Rooms, in its own statement, said: “Our rooms and our hearts are open for everyone, always. This is not something that we will compromise on, ever.”

It added that they would check “what compelled the hotel to deny check-in”.

The Independent contacted the hotel in question and was told it had been removed from the Oyo platform.

Social media users, meanwhile, hit out at the hotel for denying the Kashmiri man a room.

“A Kashmiri has been denied accommodation at a hotel in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri. He had valid id and other documents. Is this the beginning of the cascading effect post airing of Kashmir files?” asked Tanvir Sadiq, a Kashmiri politician, on Twitter.

Mr Sadiq was referring to The Kashmir Files, a recent controversial film based on the region’s Hindu minority community, the Kashmiri Pandits, and the atrocities they faced during an insurgency in the 1990s.

Critics of the movie claim the movie depicts every Kashmiri Muslim as a “terrorist” and allege several factual inaccuracies in its portrayal of the area.

“I sincerely hope [Delhi Police] and [Commissioner of Police, Delhi] take appropriate action at the earliest,” said Mahua Moitra, a politician from the eastern West Bengal state.

The Hindu reported that in 2019, a 24-year-old Kashmiri doctor was denied a room at a hotel, registered in the Oyo platform, in south Delhi’s Jasola Vihar area. Oyo Rooms had promised disciplinary action against the hotel manager then.

Kashmiri Muslims across several Indian cities face many difficulties while finding rented homes or temporary lodging for themselves.

The territory of Kashmir is at the centre of a decades-long geopolitical conflict between India and Pakistan and is said to be one of the most militarised regions in the world.