“IF things go the way they are, we fear in 50 years’ time, Muslims won’t be allowed to travel by bus or trains.” That’s what one of the religious leaders had to say after a broker put up an advertisement on a property portal saying ‘No Muslims’ (Broker puts up ‘No Muslims’ ad on property site’, November 6).
Vishal D’souza had posted an ad on November 2 on the portal, which 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.’ When MiD DAY approached him, he denied he was trying to discriminate, or be partial, but was simply stating that the society had no Muslim residents as of date.
Following the report, members of the Ulema council say that they feared the day when Muslims would be discriminated not only in housing societies but also in trains and buses. They feel that “if things continue the way they are”, Muslims would soon face the same abuse Mahatma Gandhi faced while he lived in South Africa and asked that the government should pass a law against such discrimination.
A matter of concern
Mahmood Dariyabadi of the All India Ulema Council said, “The polarisation that’s taking place is going to spoil it all for the community.” He added that a deep-seated prejudice always existed against the Muslims but it was now more evident and open. Rais Shaikh, group leader of Samajwadi party in the BMC, said that there was an urgent need for legislation.
“The legislation should be on the lines of the Harijan Act, according to which anyone acting against any Harijan is punished. This will surely act as a deterrent against discrimination,” he said. Immediately after the report emerged, the property portal was in the line of fire and blamed for being biased. Reacting to the controversy, the portal clarified its stand and said that it was against such discrimination.
Social activist Shehzad Poonawalla filed a petition with the National Commission for Minorities seeking action against the broker. He alleged that the advertisement was not only discriminatory and reflects unethical standard of business, but it also ran contrary to the Indian Constitution, which is secular.