In a disturbing trend, Kashmiris visiting New Delhi for any work have to convince the staff in hotels that they are not “terrorists” to get accommodation even for one night.
A lobby manager of a reputed hotel in the capital told : “We have been told by Delhi Police to keep vigil on Kashmiris.”
Asked why Kashmiris only, he said, “Police believe that Kashmiris are the prime suspects and any of them can be a terrorist.”
The Manager, who claimed that he has been in the hotel industry for the past 25 years, said he has handed over innumerable “Kashmiri terrorists” to police during these years. “We don’t like to trouble our customers. But we have to do it as we have to provide information to police about Kashmiris staying in our hotel,” the manager said. “Police have asked us to maintain complete data of Kashmiri guests if we want to run our hotels.”
Asked to show the order or circular which police have issued in this regard, he said, “These are verbal orders which we have to follow.”
Kashmiris who arrive in Delhi for short stays have to ensure that any of their friends or relatives, who visit them during their stay in a hotel, get their identity cards along. If they fail to do so, the hotel staff ensure that visitors are sent back.
“A group of aspirant Hajjis from Kashmir are staying in your hotel,” a visitor asked the lobby manager of a reputed hotel at Mahipalpur near Indira Gandhi International Airport here.
“First get your identity proof then only I will allow you to meet them,” the lobby manager told the visitor in an authoritarian tone.
“I am not carrying any of my cards to prove my identity,” the guest replied. “Then I am sorry I can’t allow you to meet,” he was told.
The man who had come to visit the aspirant Kashmiri Hajjis returned without uttering a single world and came back nearly after an hour carrying his Voter-ID card and handed it over to the manager. “Initially we used to get annoyed. Now we have learnt to live with it. Even a watchman standing outside the hotel gate can prevent a Kashmiri from entering the hotel premises,” the man told .
“Anyone in New Delhi can check the Identity Card of a Kashmiri anywhere. It’s unfortunate but true that Kashmiris are treated as suspects and anyone can hand them over to police just on the basis of mere suspicion,” he added.
When contacted, the duty officer at Mahipalpur police station refused to share any information over the issue and disconnected the phone.