Any publicity is good publicity, an old saying goes. However, it didn't work quite right for a posh restaurant based in South Delhi after it garnered negative attention on social media.
On September 20, Aquila restaurant located at Ansal Plaza created quite a buzz online after the saree-clad guest it denied entry to posted a viral video on Twitter. Delhi-based Anita Choudhary who wanted to celebrate her daughter's birthday was denied entry for she was not dressed 'smart enough' for the private space.
In a video clip shared by her on Twitter, staffers at the restaurant can be seen clarifying why they cannot allow her inside. "We allow only smart wear and saree is not considered a smart wear," one of its female staffers can be heard explaining.
Soon enough, Aquila received heavy criticism for its bias across social media platforms, even bringing down its rating on food delivery apps such as Zomato. By the end of the day, the restaurant that had opened its doors only a few months ago was forced to issue an apology and put out its side of the story.
Incident sparks protest
Following the incident, women support groups and NGOs based in the NCR region took out protests and online campaigns to appeal to the government to announce the saree as the national garment.
Social activist Richa Singh, who participated in the campaign took to her Twitter to share: "#Saree is the ancient garment of Indian woman. It is worn in almost every province of India, it is different that the way of wearing changes in the same way. #SareeIsMyRight"
Why Aquila closed down?
The restaurant was served a closure notice by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on September 24 as it found its operations running without a proper trade license and under unhygienic practices during an inspection conducted on September 21. Upon a follow-up visit on September 24, it was observed that there had been no changes made and thus it directed that the trade be closed within 48 hours of the notice being received. Aquila was eventually closed down on September 27.
The SDMC notice issued to the restaurant quoted by several media outlets stated, "The public health inspector again inspected the site on September 24 and found that the trade is running under the same condition. You are directed to close the trade within 48 hours of the receipt of this notice failing which suitable action including sealing will be taken without assigning further notice."