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Gender, Women's Rights

Paradise no more

For all those living in Hyderabad, India, Paradise hotel is synonymous to biryani and is one of the most visited restaurants in the city. Located in Secunderabad, the hotel was so iconic that it lent its name to the place where it is. I say ‘was iconic’ because it no longer is, for me anyways.

Last night, I was there with my family celebrating my mother’s birthday. After dinner, we came down and were waiting for our car to be brought around by the valet. There was this one woman who was selling mogra flowers, a street hawker, right near the restaurant.

Now Paradise for whatever reasons has bouncers as security personnel outside its premises. My husband, my cousins and I were just talking about what was an outright lecherous look of a bouncer towards this woman, when another bouncer walked in (at this point, the woman was surrounded by four bouncers) and asked her to move away from there. Now, I understand that the parking area is managed by these guys, but what right they have to order people off the roads? Anyways, even as she began to walk away, the bouncer pushed her to the ground–yes on a road where traffic flow is quite heavy; snatched her basket of flowers, tore them and began to hit the woman. When we along with the other customers started to scream and run towards the bouncer hitting the woman, he pushed her again to the ground, and ran inside the Paradise garage.

We were quite enraged at this point and ran inside the garage only to be stopped by other bouncers who told us to ‘get lost’ and one went to the extent of saying that the woman was beaten because she was ‘drunk’ and ‘misbehaving’. By this time, a considerably big crowd had gathered all of them demanding for the bouncer to be handed over. Not only were the other bouncers and security guard protecting the culprit but they went a step ahead and threatened customers to leave or forfeit their cars which were in the garage.

In a matter of seconds, the bouncers also began closing the garage doors and had barricaded one of the entrances to the hotel. A so-called Manager appeared on the scene, behind the barricades and told us to leave, saying “You are making a scene out of nothing”.

At this point, I called 108 and had also informed a couple of media houses about the incident. Soon, i saw a Rakshak vehicle (police patrol jeep) and stopped the vehicle and informed them of the incident. When the SI, one Shiva Prasad, asked the security guard what happened he said “nothing happened these guys are just making a big deal out of nothing”. When the police went inside to get the guy, they could not find the guy either. But what was heartening, at this point to see were the many people who had witnessed the incident, coming forward and informing the police. Many had waited for the police to come to complaint.

When i spoke to the other women hawkers there they told me that they are bullied on a daily basis by the Paradise security men. “They push us around, spoil our flowers and sometimes even grope us. We put up with it because we have no choice and have to do this for a living,” said one of the hawkers Lakshmi.

This is the appalling state of affairs in our city and country. What did the guy who pushed that woman and beat her think? That no one would react or that he would get away with it? I guess he thought both. And for all that i know, he might actually get away with it. While i did file a complaint with the SI, am yet to hear about the actual details and realistically speaking, i know that Paradise can ‘afford’ to bribe their way out of this incident. Their reputation will be hardly hit if the media does not take up the issue. Despite, working with the media i feel thoroughly helpless and frustrated that this matter has not been brought to light (as yet atleast) And so decided to go ahead and blog about it.

The manager who  was apprehended by the police last night was almost nonchalant and seemed assured that nothing would come out of this.

But what caught my attention was this- even as i was ashamed that something like this happened in my city, the number of my fellow Hyderabadis who rose to the occassion and fought for this woman who believe me was quite shaken and scared.

There are a lot of underlying issues here. One of class and gender. The inequality of it all. This security guard aka bouncer was assured of his management’s support and hence took the step of assaulting a hapless woman. A woman he knew, would not be able to fight back on her own. By calling her a drunk, the other bouncers somehow felt they had the moral authority to hit a woman. What was disgusting was the complete lack of responsibility on the part of the management.This attitude that she is no body so we can do whatever needs to be cracked down on not to mention  these so called security guards need to be sensitised.

At a time when there is so much public anger on the lack of safety for women, this incident just goes to show how much work’s to be done when it comes to this issue. But, I have hope now. Hope, that people will no longer stay quiet when incidents like this happen. Often, it takes one person to react-(in this case it was my family which reacted in unison)- to encourage other bystanders to stop being spectators. If the police takes action against these guys, they will be setting a wonderful precedent in the city. The incident also brought to the fore the concept of safety for thousands of women employed like this. Who are they to approach when such things take place and to what extent is justice actually delivered? Apart from strengthening laws, its time we even think of how to make women aware of their rights so that they can fight back.

And yes i know for a fact that I will NEVER step foot into that restaurant or any of its branches again  or even order from there. The only way these big establishments will understand the gravity of what happened last night is when people begin to boycott them.

I generally don’t ask for my blog posts to be shared, but this one i will. Please read and share this as widely as possible. We need to come together to teach a lesson to these guys and cut their arrogance. This might be a long shot, but i believe in the power of social media.

May 5 Update: The issue has been picked up by almost all mainstream papers in Hyderabad – The Hindu, The Hans India, New Indian Express and Times of India. Paradise has informed all these media houses that they have terminated the services of the security agency and the bouncer Prakash yadav has been arrested and was sent to the magistrate yesterday morning ie May 4 morning. The blog post has also gone viral on FB and Twitter. I want to thank all those who read, shared, tweeted and reblogged this post for spreading the message. 

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Discussion

591 thoughts on “Paradise no more

  1. Kudos,we feel ashamed for what happend there.Bravo go on .

    Posted by vijaya chander rao | May 7, 2013, 2:08 pm
  2. Now I see its time we boycot watching one of the famous actors movies for his behaviour recently…. I think it requires us to do moral policing when the real police are failing in such instances…Pathetic the conditions are becoming in this country… I don’t really understand how wealthy get the feeling that they can do anything with the society? And how do the film heroes get the feeling that they are heroes in real life also? Bloody they dont even have enough IQ what the other professionals have.
    People stop Idealising actors first … they are not qualified enough to rule this country….Be a fan for their acting, let them be in their professions dont drag them into ruling this country, there will only be acting without any reality…..there are more deserving leaders who can lead this country better…. This should be the message to all….

    Posted by Citizen | May 7, 2013, 3:08 pm
  3. I AM ALSO NOT ENTER SUCH HAPPENED HARRASING HOTELS.TO SAVE HUMANITY.

    Posted by UPENDER | May 8, 2013, 3:47 am
  4. priya gr8 well done..congrats

    Posted by ravi nair | May 8, 2013, 5:18 am
    • well done! it is a courageous act. as this happens daily in and around the big hotels like this. poor woman who tries to meet both the ends to earn their livelihood are treated in this manner. If paradise management could have acted swiftly then situation could have been different. thnks u shown us the way to raise on this type of occassions.

      Posted by Anonymous | May 10, 2013, 5:24 am
  5. Yes it feels really good to see people joining hands towards the moral rights of the ordinary people, even the day be-fore’s incident Actor Ram Charan’s body guards beating up two of the soft ware professionals on the road is a same kind of issue which needs to be condemned as well

    Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2013, 5:21 am
    • I hope that happens very soon. Because, it was over reaction on the common people. If he does not want any one to come on hist way on the roads. Then, he better fly on the air at least there will be no traffic . Arrogant family. I have strongly decided and suggested all my friends to ban his films from now on. Characterless fellow, last time he killed one old man by rash driving. He has no right to be hero for all his drama. Never,ever he gets success even if he can’t have respect to the humans.

      Posted by Sarthi | May 9, 2013, 7:07 am
      • No need to ban him. He is hardly 25% of what his father is. His press conference was at abysmal levels. He was caught pants down by ABN Andhra jyothi when he alleged that he didn’t even get down from the car whereas the channel caught hin on video clearly walking.

        Posted by Nagarjuna | May 9, 2013, 5:10 pm
  6. Where you cant explain a hawker politely not to disturb the costumers going in and out of your business.
    Where you cant explain them every minute not to do so when you see them selling stuff by showcasing their pity faces as investment to pull the crowd.
    Where you cant chose between humanity and ethics, because humanity encourages them, ethics teach them.
    Where you fear to teach them harshly, for the society around you, can take it the other way.

    And then Where you cant wait for them to live rule-less, making inconvenience on road,
    Where you cant leave it for the govt to teach them the traffic sense.
    Where you simply get down from the car and talk to the idiots politely about free lefts.
    Where you try to make them learn their lesson in a forced way.
    Where everyone here is a journalist of their kind, all your intention to teach them a lesson turns out to be class differences.
    Where you soon end up saying sorry to the same people who you think needed a lesson and become a criminal for taking it as a responsibility.
    Where people of nation, disobeys the rules, bribes the police, in turn kicks you when you ask them learn to be good,

    O’ father wake up my nation, sleeping in this trance of stupidity, to the dawns of ideal citizenship.
    -Aroon Che

    Posted by Aroon | May 8, 2013, 5:55 am
    • Where you should not take law into your hands for a reason
      else where tomorrow your kids might be beaten up for similar reasons by someone in the crowd.
      else where you fear to go outside fearing whats right for you might be wrong for others
      else where Afghanistan is and India isnt

      Posted by Chaitanya | June 4, 2013, 2:19 am
  7. Well done I appreciate you and promises you I am also never foot in that hotel

    Posted by srinivas Jampana | May 8, 2013, 8:50 am
  8. What I find amazing & unbelievable is, someone goes out & fights to help another person, there are a number of ” “great people” who instead of appreciating & supporting her go on to critisize expecting her to save the whole mankind or shut her mouth and turn away from whatever is happening!!!! woooow……… and another amazing soul goes to the highest level of advocating that the victimsed person is fit for being victimised!!!! FREESPIRITONMOVE, whoever you are, I dont think you should even waste your time & energy responding to these people………..they are not even worth your thought!!! Hats off to you for doing the right thing…. way to go!!!

    Posted by @soodbaby | May 8, 2013, 9:23 am
  9. Appreciate your efforts to fight against such a brutal act and supporting the lady. Very well done

    Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2013, 6:20 pm
  10. I remember – these bouncers behaviour was so bad to any people … Great work my friend ..

    Posted by Anirban | May 8, 2013, 8:55 pm
  11. Whether you go to this place or not, it really does not matter. In marketing, they say that an unhappy customer will go and tell at least 5 people about his experience. And you have done a pretty good job of showing your dissatisfaction. Brand name has been driving this restaurant to reach new heights year after year. I have been going to this place since 1993 and you cannot even compare quality between now and then. Since this incident happened outside the restaurant, let’s try not to draw any conclusions about the quality of the food. Now let’s talk about your incident – bouncers are paid to keep off beggars and street hawkers near the restaurant. These bouncers might have been very much telling them for days not to come near the restaurant – despite their warnings, these people will go and do their business – that’s because their livelihood depends on it. At the same time, bouncers are also doing their job. Bouncers job is to eject troublemakers from their premises. You would not be surprised to see the same lady selling flowers at the same place within minutes after the incident. These types of incidents happen in every corner of India, that does not mean that you go and indicate people that you should not be going anywhere. Kudos to what you have done – but you did not do any change for these people. In fact, police might have kept them off from the place for few days and indirectly you might have caused some damage too – just my opinion though.

    Posted by Raghu | May 8, 2013, 11:48 pm
    • Hi thanks for writing in with your opinion. While i agree the bouncers are instructed to keep troublemakers at bay, i know for a fact-as i pass by paradise every other day, that these women perhaps just till the road near Paradise and try to steer clear of bouncers. Lets see even if they are warned, that still does not justify what took place. As to whether i caused more damage to the hawkers, I dont think so. I went back yesterday and spoke to the hawkers, they told me that the bouncers are troubling me that much. Well, at least for now. I definitely can’t assure that this wont repeat again. And this is an issue that one person can’t solve….

      Posted by freespiritonmove | May 9, 2013, 4:10 am
    • Raghu your comment about the incident is confusing you first congratulate the people standing up for the poor and helpless and then turn and say that boycotting is not the answer… so why dont you offer a solution… also no one is forcing anyone to do anything its what feels right to an individual… I am a business man in Kolkata and we have to face worse kinds of hawkers and beggars (and let me tell you that begging also is now a business) everyday who disrupt our daily work we shout at them and they move away but come back the next day but I can never think of telling or allowing my security guard to physically harm them.. if they do i will fire them and take responsibility as a business owner and an educated one at that.. Paradise did not take any responsibility in fact the bouncers get that much courage from the attitude of the owners itself… So unless you have a better solution dont suggest to anyone how to protest…

      Posted by Anonymous | May 9, 2013, 12:10 pm
  12. I am in Hyderabad for 6 years. I have witnessed few of the incidents where women were assaulted, but nobody took notice as they were poor. Its really inspirational to see such protest..

    Posted by sudheer | May 8, 2013, 11:59 pm
  13. That’s one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind. I feel that this incident is as important to us as any other important movement in our history!

    Posted by Joe Kidd | May 9, 2013, 4:19 am
  14. It is seen as a prestige and pride to keep the footpath clean and empty and i have seen many visitors asking the guards to chase them though they are not in any manner affected.This i have seen once in Chennai where a mobile van of a reputed Trust was whisked away just because it was parked in front of the compound wall of a bigwig though he was in no way disturbed.There are only two sections of people in India.One who have money and the other one who doesnt have them.

    Posted by Anonymous | May 9, 2013, 4:20 am
  15. It can be considered as one of the example where authorities failed to collect the proofs for investigation as the people’s nearby the incident, behaves as if they doesn’t know anything and because of which it makes the authorities to go back without any evidence and unless and until we supports the authorities, the authorities will continue to take back their hands by taking bribes. Hence to make the administration strong we the people have to support them through all other means so as to make them work and punish the culprits nor the same thing will happen and culprit like this will become strong, stronger and strongest and to stop this we have to be strongest enough to make them weak…………………..

    Posted by Anonymous | May 9, 2013, 6:05 am
  16. Good work.. keep it up..

    Posted by Anonymous | May 9, 2013, 2:12 pm
  17. Commendable job. Loved the last line: I believe in the power of social media. :)

    Posted by knowpraveen | May 10, 2013, 3:42 am
  18. Very Good Work. This episode enouraged me to document these types of encounters.

    Posted by Anonymous | May 10, 2013, 4:52 am
  19. Although i stay in Mumbai, i m pretty well aware about Paradise as a restaurant and the location..
    Its really sad to see that a name which is so famous for its food is having no control over the such behavioral engagements from its staff..

    May be there are many more such incidents which happen and go un-noticed in every city..

    Posted by sumit | May 10, 2013, 8:11 am
  20. I respect u for watever u have done..Agar aap yeh sab nahi kerte, wo log security guard ko kabhi fire nahi kerte…aur wo jo us din hua wo har roz continue hota aur koi notice bhi nahi kerta…

    Posted by Idrees Pasha | May 10, 2013, 10:55 am
  21. I think the admin of this web site is really working hard for his site, because here every material is quality based stuff.

    Posted by tall fescue grass | May 10, 2013, 1:55 pm
  22. Thank you so much for this blog.

    Posted by Joel | May 24, 2013, 3:41 am
  23. It takes one brave soul to stand his/her ground…. this is inspiring!

    Posted by SK.B | May 28, 2013, 4:50 pm
  24. So what is the update on this incident?

    Posted by Madhu Reddy | June 8, 2013, 6:51 am
  25. What is the update on this issue? Any follow up?

    Posted by Madhu Reddy | June 8, 2013, 6:52 am
    • Hey Madhu Reddy, i spoke to the SI last a couple of weeks back and a case has been registered. So far that’s the only update i have. I know the flower vendor has not been compensated as far as i know. That’s where it stands now. the flower vendor has not been seen near Paradise. I saw her near the Universal bakery spot some time back. Will keep everyone posted in case of any other update in the case.

      Posted by freespiritonmove | June 8, 2013, 7:48 am
  26. MADAM thanq very much,for the act,…also to all those who had supported the poor woman….JAI HIND

    Posted by KALYANKAR | June 28, 2013, 9:48 am
  27. See I was just giving you a reason you might think beating up those people is fine. Now you’re saying you have no reason, but you just feel that way. Nice. Also, I can’t believe you actually replied again. So many people against you and you have the balls to reinforce your dumb statement. You sir, must go get a life. Or fight for one. Not stand by and even encourage things like this……..

    Posted by Saaketh | May 6, 2013, 5:29 pm
  28. Hey saaketh who is this in response to??

    Posted by freespiritonmove | May 6, 2013, 5:38 pm
  29. The reply is for Raja Krishna! It got posted in the wrong place I guess…

    Posted by Saaketh | May 6, 2013, 5:41 pm
  30. Well. I am unable to resist myself in appreciating u for the courage and the spirit with which u brought the paradise issue to the fore. That is what everyone lacks now a days. We would be happy if u could reveal ur identity so that we can have clear picture about one another. We belong to MAA HYDERABAD, a group founded by native telanganites working for the cause of Telangana in the city. And please do not think these things have nothing to do with Telangana issue. Yes it does have. History has been witness to many such stories mostly indulged in by the settlers who were responsible for changing the face of the city in the absence of people questioning/preventing them.

    Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2013, 12:44 pm
  31. I have never liked that restaurant either. It has lost its sheen way long back. They are only trying to mint money. I truly appreciate your courage for bringing this incident to light.

    Posted by Phani | May 9, 2013, 11:01 am
  32. It surprises me that not everyone has good things to say about what you did. You did a great job out there.

    Posted by good j ob | May 9, 2013, 3:12 pm

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