Pakistan

Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan — Pakistani family denied accommodation by hotels in Mumbai, spends night on footpath

MUMBAI: A Pakistani family who visited India last week on a valid visa didn’t have any idea that they were tempting fate by making it to the extremist city Mumbai where anti-Pakistani mindset was just an order of the day.

After visiting the iconic Haji Ali dargah, the family of six from Karachi found that no hotel or lodge was willing to give them rooms just because of their identification. When their efforts to return to their relatives’ house in Jodhpur went in vain, the family – which included three women and a boy – had no option but to spend the night on a footpath, reported the Times of India.

The family had arrived in India last week, and had stayed at their relatives’ place in Jodhpur. According to the report, the family had arrived with two purposes on their agenda – a visit to Haji Ali and an attempt to meet Bollywood star Salman Khan.

We arrived in Mumbai on October 14 morning, went to the shrine and returned from there after prayers,” said Noor Banu, who had come to India with her brother Inayat Ali (55), nephew Shakeel Ahmed, two other women and a seven-year-old boy.

The ordeal of the family began when their started to search for accommodation.

“I asked the family to wait near a hotel at Bhenzi Bazaar and began searching for a hotel or lodge. Till the evening I visited around a dozen lodges, but everyone refused to admit us since we are from Pakistan,” said a bitter Shakeel Ahmed.

He asked why the hotels were denying them accommodation when the Indian government had given them valid visas.

After they were turned away by a dozen lodges and hotels, the family decided to return to Jodhpur. They went to the Mumbai Central Railway station to take a train, but were stopped by the railway protection force (RPF).

The RPF personnel told the family that there was no train for Jodhpur late in the night and that they would have to come the next day. The family could also not spend the night on the platform, as that is not permitted in Mumbai.

So the family had no option, except one – spend the night on a footpath.

The family did not approach the police, saying their priority was to reach home at the earliest.

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