Mumbai: Religious bias seems to have the final say in property ads
As if house hunting in this crowded city wasn’t enough of a challenge, finding the house of your dreams could now depend on what religion you follow. It’s not uncommon to see property advertisements seeking ‘Hindu only’ applicants, and now the internet seems to be flooded with similar adverts targeting Muslims.
mid-day had reported on religious discrimination in the city last week, when a Muslim youth’s job application was rejected by a diamond export firm which stated that it only hired non-Muslims (‘FIR lodged against firm for denying Muslim man a job’, May 22).
This time, however, the discrimination is in favour of the Muslim community, with many property portals hosting housing ads that range from ‘Muslims only’ to ‘Muslims allowed’. For example, an advertisement for a 2BHK Malad (West) flat on Propertywala.com categorically states that the listing is only for Muslim buyers.
There are other posts that don’t put it so bluntly, but still make it clear that the house is for someone from the Muslim community, by mentioning the property’s proximity to a masjid or a nearby Muslim locality.
Take, for instance, the listing for a 2BHK flat in Koparkhairane on the portal IndiaProperty.com, which mentions that the house is next to Jama Masjid, and then adds that Muslim applicants are ‘preferable’. Another advert on sulekha.com for a 2BHK in Andheri (West) states ‘Muslims are allowed’.
But a broker who did not wish to be identified, told mid-day, “Blaming brokers or websites for discrimination on the basis of religion is futile. We are just mediators; it’s the sellers or the buyers who keep such clauses. We sell a flat with conditions placed by them.”
Most of the property portals claimed they weren’t aware of such advertisements on their websites and gave assurances that these would be pulled down. However, according to realty expert Ajay Chaturvedi, “Such discrimination has been taking place for a long time.
This brings out to the fore that discrimination is not only done by Hindus but also by Muslims. The government must come up with a new policy to stop this.” “Housing finance companies also hold a bias and deny loans to people belonging to a particular profession, such as those from the film industry. Even single women are discriminated against,” he added.