Finding a home in the city to call your own is an uphill, arduous task. But for one section of society, it appears, that the task isn’t simply difficult, but almost impossible owing to a deep-seated prejudice against the community. A broker’s advertisement on a property portal has displayed the intolerance some have towards Muslims.
A posting put up on November 2 on the portal read, ‘Excellent brand new 2BHK fully furnished flat with cross ventilation, natural light. Cosmopolitan society, no Muslims, with car parking on immediate sale, fifth floor interested please call.’
The home in question is located at Dadar’s Hindu Colony and was put up by broker Vishal D’souza. When MiD DAY approached D’souza, he denied he was trying to discriminate, or be partial, but was simply stating that the society had no Muslim residents as of date.
“I wasn’t discriminating against any religion. What I meant was that the society had no Muslims,” he said. Following our conversation with him, and uproar over the issue on social networking sites, D’souza promptly changed his ad and removed the objectionable words No Muslims.
Not the first time
Another broker on the condition of anonymity, however, insisted that while the incident was shameful, it wasn’t the first time that it had occurred. “This is not an exclusive case. There are buildings that are exclusive for people belonging to a particular community. However, no one has ever put it on record. The prejudice has existed for all these years, but never was it displayed so brazenly.”
Other brokers chimed in that it was not just Muslims who faced discrimination. “There are buildings that don’t allow non-vegetarians, and then there are other societies that don’t allow people from other castes. And then come the Parsi colonies, which categorically refuse any non-Parsis wanting to buy homes in their societies,” said another broker.
It’s not just your religion, your caste or your food habits that can pose a problem while purchasing a home. It’s also your marital status. In the past, many singletons have complained that they hadn’t been given homes on the pretext that they were troublemakers.
Can’t buy a home
There are other cases in the past, which display this prejudice.
>> In 2008, noted actor and MP Shabana Azmi complained that she and her husband Javed Akhtar could not buy a flat in Mumbai due to religious discrimination.
>> In 2009, actor Emraan Hashmi had alleged that he was denied a home in a particular building because the society didn’t allow Muslims.
>> In March 2012, the Nawab of Pataudi Saif Ali Khan said that even though he bought a house in Bandra, he had been turned down several times by builders.
>> In October 2013, Imitiaz Ali, director of Rockstar, apparently faced discrimination while finding a home in Andheri, owing to him being single.
Ajay Chaturvedi, realty expert claims that such forms of direct discrimination aren’t a healthy way of doing business. “India is a secular country and such discrimination would lead to further trouble and make it more difficult to maintain communal harmony. People should avoid this kind of discrimination.”
“This is marginalising a particular community, the Islamophobia that’s spread by right-wing politics. In a country like India, which is secular and multi-cultural, such things cannot influence the people. It’s time for political parties promoting such views to understand that the country will grow together. I give this voice as an Indian and such a trend of marginalising has to be stopped,” said Dr Zeenat Shaukat Ali, founder and director-general, Wisdom Foundation.
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