Being born in a remote village(now a town) of Jammu of Jammu and Kashmir, my perception of outer world has always been positive and great. I was always fascinated by the big cities of India, its sky scrappers and modern life.
Having looked these cities only on TV, I always had an urge to visit these places and feel and live that life.
Last week was when destiny provided me with such opportunity as I got a chance to travel to India’s national capital with my family.
We spent soke time in visiting the historic monuments of Delhi, we made our way to Agra to see the great TAJ MAHAL, one of the seven wonders of this world.
We are having best of our time as moved from one place to the other. What could have possibly gone wrong. With less time and more places to see, we wasted no time in taking Bus from Agra to return to Delhi soon after we had seen enough of the symbol of love Shah Jahan had created in memory of his love.
Having reached Delhi at Midnight on 9 January we decided to spend a night in Delhi as we had to catch a train for Uttarakhand next morning at 6.
As there was 6 hours time in between we sought an accommodation in a hotel nearby New Delhi railway station. A man sitting on the reception in his half sleep woke up to see the customers.
I was with my brother in law and my sister. I politely asked the manager if we could get accommodation for the night, I must confess that the response from the hotel manager was filled with even more politeness. His answer was ‘yes why not.’
But that warmth soon evaporated as soon as I showed him my ID card (driving licence).
To my utter surprise, the man at the reception now performed a complete U-turn to say he simply couldn’t give us an accommodation. The reason cited was that we were from J&K and residents of the valley weren’t ‘allowed to be given accommodation in Delhi hotels because of strict instruction from Delhi police.
We did our best to persuade the gentleman but to no avail. Realising that we were indulging in futile exercise, we decided to left the place and began searching accommodation in other hotels in the same vicinity.
One of them was Mahalaxmi hotel. The man at reception in Mahalaxmi had already seen us coming out of the previous hotel, So he asked us the reason. I showed him my ID and the answer sadly was the same.
Now the explanation went a bit far. He said, “We don’t give rooms to citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan and J&K. We were amazed to know their views about people from Jammu and Kashmir. As a family we felt dejected, disappointed. Yet, we decided to approach another hotel but the reply and the reason were no different here too.
Having no option left and promoted by a sense of desperation, we started our long walk towards railway station which was nearby. Two men and one lady on the roads of Delhi under open sky in dark and freezing night in an unknown city.
So I decided to tweet to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Commissioner of Police BS Bassi with a hope that these two people will bail us out of our misery. In one of my tweets I also tagged the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia.
Truth be told, to not get any response from either these gentlemen or volunteers from the Delhi’s ruling party was pretty disappointing. The lack of response was very unlike Aam Aadmi.
I tweeted tagging PM Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj seeking their intervention. But still no reply.
In this constant exerciae of tweeting and tagging I tagged Rifat Jawaid, the editor-in-chief of jantakareporter.com. It was his intervention that resulted in outpour of response from ordinary Delhiites.
Sitting at the railway station and looking at my phone, I saw a deluge of tweets, at least hundreds of them, all offering help.
Few even offered us to come to their home nd spend night there. We were humbled and overwhelmed by the incredible gesture of these Delhiites.
As it was already very late (2AM), we couldn’t afford to move out and chose to
spend the night at the railway station itself.
However, this unforgettable experience taught us few lessons about our politicians and people who claim to care about us the aam aadmi.
By the next day, thanks to jantakareporter.com, news became a topic of national discussion as we took a train for Uttarakhand( Nainital) for a trip.
But things which still keep haunting me is why was i not given accommodation in Delhi after having valid Id proof issued to me by government of India and government of J&K.
Why are we the people from Jammu and Kashmir always looked at with suspicion in Delhi?
And why our ordeal did not mean anything to the government of Delhi?
Am i not the citizen of India?
Why did my family had to face humiliation? Why has Delhi government not responded to this incidence till date?
Well life will move on but hope governments of India and Delhi one day answer these questions. Perhaps, when they see benefits in our votes.
All I needed was an assurance from the governments in Delhi that no Arif and his family will ever be meted out such insults in future. All I got has been a mysterious silence.
Arif’s story was exclusively carried on jantakareporter.com and thanks to our efforts Delhi police tool note of the situation and has ordered an inquiry.
(The image above is only for representational purpose only)