Manama: An Indian Restaurant in Bahrain has been shut down by the local authorities after allegedly denying entry to a veil-clad woman. ‘Lanterns’ was a popular Indian restaurant brand in the Island country with branches in four cities including Budaiya, Amwaj, Adliya, Riffa.
The action was taken after several Bahrainian news outlets broke the incident of a veiled woman being restricted to entering the Lanterns restaurant in Bahrain’s Adliya city, the video of which had become viral on social media platforms. Soon after the incident caused a stir, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority (BTEA) launched a probe asking tourism outlets to comply with the regulations and avoid any policy that violates the laws of the kingdom. As reported by local media outlets, the department issued a statement saying, “We reject all actions that discriminate against people, especially regarding their national identity.”
While the authority is pursuing its legal actions, it has enforced Decree-Law no 15 of 1986 while regulating activities of the restaurant.
The Restaurant administration posted an apology on its social media accounts saying that the said incident does not represent its policies. While acknowledging the mistake, the hotel announced that the manager involved has been suspended. “Everyone is welcome to Lanterns as how it has been for more than 35 years that we have been serving all nationalities in the beautiful kingdom of Bahrain. Lanterns is a place for everyone to come enjoy with their families and feel at home. In this instance, a mistake has been made by a manager who is now being suspended as this does not represent who we are.”
As a goodwill gesture, the place opened up itself to have complimentary food for its local patrons on Tuesday. While the restaurant clarified its official stance, it received many racial slurs directed at the Hindu Indian community living in the country.
The lady customer later clarified that she was stopped not by an Indian, but by the British manager of the restaurant, Lloyd.
In the video statement, the woman, Mariam Naji, said, “Hello, first of all, I am very sad about the news and the rumours. Actually, the man wasn’t Indian. He was a British guy, and trust me, I can recognize Indian guys. So please stop doing that. Please, please stop doing that. I am not even happy about what I saw. So, I sat with the Indian owner. He was very kind to us. He apologized to us for what had happened. So, we closed the case, and this is it. This is the truth. Don’t even listen to the news. You have to know the true story. You can even see I am not wearing a hijab, but my friend was wearing the Hijab. Because of that, I made a video.”