Woman In Wheelchair Denied Entry In Gurgaon Restaurant, Staff Says It Will ‘Disturb’ Others

In an incident that took place on the 12th of February in Gurgaon, a wheelchair-bound woman named Srishti Pandey was allegedly denied entry at a restaurant named ‘Raasta’. She took to Twitter to narrate the incident and since then, her thread has gone viral and started a conversation around the lack of sensitivity society as a whole shows towards people with disabilities.

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Srishti alleges that a member of the restaurant staff claimed that “wheelchair andar nahi jaygi” (the wheelchair won’t go inside) and that her presence would “disturb” the customers inside.

They were suggested to get a table outside but it was cold and unsafe for Srishti.

We should be asking ourselves many important questions at this point – why should a person with a disability be segregated from the rest? How is their presence a disturbance? Why is there such a severe lack of empathy and basic decency among people? And why aren’t restaurants and other public places taking the responsibility of educating and sensitizing their staff members regarding such issues?

Srishti also shared a video of the incident:

Several people online, including actors Pooja Bhatt and Zeeshan Ayyub, responded to her tweets and extended their solidarity.

There were also many who called out the restaurant and urged others to ban it. Gurgaon Police too tweeted to further inquire about the incident. In the midst of such backlash, the Founder Partner at Raasta, Goumtesh Singh, posted an apology on social media.

“We are deeply regretful of the episode that took place at Raasta, Gurgaon, on Friday evening. We stand for inclusivity and would never want anyone to feel singled out for any reason. As a part of our efforts, we have already reached out to the aggrieved patron to personally apologise to them. We are also taking steps internally to heighten sensitivity and empathy for our staff to ensure this never happens again,” the post read.

Have a look:

However, when Srishti was in a live interview with NDTV and Goumtesh Singh was brought face to face with her, he bailed.

When inquired by NDTV, Goumtesh alleged that the manager on duty had been let go. But he disconnected the call when he realised that he was in a live interview. Later, he expressed that he was unaware of it and that he would like to speak one-on-one with Srishti and apologize.

Srishti was offended by Goumtesh’s inability to apologize in public and take responsibility for the incident, calling it the “most disrespectful thing”.

“Where’s the apology? This was not an apology. This is what has been happening…we have been demanding a public apology and this is the response we have been getting. This happened again right now, live, in front of everyone,” she said. 

For something like this to happen at a time when the awareness around social equity and empathy is probably at its peak, when there’s a new generation filled with thoughts and ideas on how to make our society more inclusive, is truly condemnable. It shows how a lot of work, unlearning, and re-learning is yet to be done.

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