Restaurants gear up to prevent another tragedy

Members of restaurant associations like AHAR have met, and resolved to upgrade security equipment, sensitise their staff members, and inform the police when criminal activities occur outside their premises

In the aftermath of the shocking Amboli murders, restaurant owners across the city are brainstorming over ways to tackle similar incidents, if and when they take place in the future.

The hotel industry has received flak since the incident, after victims complained that staff members of Amboli Bar and Kitchen did not come forward to help Keenan Santos and his group of friends, when they were being brutally attacked by a gang of molesters. The friends were regulars at the popular joint.

Spurred into action: In the aftermath of the Amboli murders,
restaurant owners are now busy devising foolproof upgrades to their
security systems, in order to be able to tackle brawls if and when they

break out outside their premises. PIC/RANE ASHISH

In a bid to redeem themselves, restaurant owners are now busy devising foolproof upgradations to their security systems, in order to be ready to tackle brawls if and when they break out outside their premises.

At a recent meeting held by restaurant owners, members were asked not to stand by as mute spectators during such incidents, but come forward and provide help to victims. 

Speaking to MiD DAY, Sudhakhar Shetty, president of Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), which has 8,000 hotels, bars and restaurants under its banner, confirmed that the association had given strict instructions to its members to upgrade their security equipment, so that they can record footage of any crimes taking place in their immediate vicinity, and help law enforcement agencies nab the culprits. "In a recent meeting with our members, we discussed the recent Amboli case at length, and have appealed to all our members to act swiftly if any such incident takes place. They should not watch passively."

AHAR secretary Sukesh Shetty too echoed Shetty's sentiments. "The safety of our guests is our first priority, and should be given its due importance. We should instruct all our staff members to stand up and defend guests and passers-by in such situations."

The Amboli Bar and Kitchen is not a member of AHAR, revealed Shetty.

Hotelier's take
Meldan D'Cunha, director, Soul Fry Bar and Kitchen Pvt Ltd, said that he has instructed his restaurant staff to help victims whenever criminal activities take place outside its premises.

"I have instructed my staff members to help guests if they are being victimised in any fashion. I always maintain that our responsibilities towards our guests do not end with service, but till they reach home safely. I have instructed my staff members to call the local police station or the beat marshals who patrol the area, so help can be given speedily," he said.

D'Cunha has also written to the Hotel and Restaurant Association, Western India (HRA-WI), which has five-star hotels and pubs as its members. In his letter, he has appealed to the president of the association to impart tips to members on maintaining security, through regular publications like newspapers.

"In this particular incident, the victims were regular guests of the restaurant, familiar with the staff. Yet, none of them raised their voice or came forward to help. We should find a way to communicate quick-fix security measures to our members who find themselves in unfortunate situations."

Facing flak
The Amboli Bar and Kitchen earned a great deal of disrepute, when friends of deceased, who survived the horrific incident, revealed in their statements that the staff members of the popular restaurant had not lifted a finger to help Reuben Santos and Keenan Fernandes, when they were being stabbed brutally by the local goons. The restaurant also received flak for failing to provide CCTV footage of the incident, which would have been indispensable and crucial as evidence to be used by cops. Though the cameras had been installed, they had not been maintained, and had stopped working.

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