Well-known RJ and emcee Kajal got the shock of her life recently when she got in touch with the seller of an apartment at Kalpataru Residency in Sanathnagar.
“I was told that they do not sell their houses to Muslims, and they’d make an exception only if the family was high profile. I was obviously disgusted, but more than that, I am shocked that such things still happen,” she shares. Ironically, many people responded to her anguished post on Facebook, saying that they had faced similar issues!
A look at blogs and online discussion forums reveals that this isn’t an isolated case. Several minorities, especially Muslims complain of discrimination, including “housing apartheid”. Even in “forward-thinking” cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, such incidents happen, so it comes as no surprise that it happens in our own city too.
Kajal’s sister, Meh Zareen says, “It’s appalling that the seller seemed quite proud about their “no non-vegetarian” clause which was evidently just a garb to put Muslims off. He told me that “this is how it’s going to be henceforth and that many other builders will follow suit”. It’s ridiculous that they have such prejudice, but what’s shocking was that he shared my contact with other sellers who do not have a problem with selling to Muslims!”
Mimicry artist Baba Sharifuddin Shaik, who paid an advance for a flat in Vasudha Enclave, Neredmet, also had an unnerving experience. “The person I was buying it from was quite the gentleman but the problem came from the people co-inhabiting the apartments. Even though I had paid an advance of `2 lakh, with a bank loan approval too, people from neighbouring flats were opposed to the idea of selling the flat to a Muslim. It was the most insulting few moments of my life when I tried to convince them to let me buy the apartment. Ultimately, I didn’t buy it as I didn’t want my children to live in such a hostile atmosphere,” he reveals, adding that even the recommendation of a local BJP leader did not convince the people in the flats. The negativity doesn’t stop there. Take for instance, singer Shabina who rented a Nestaway accommodation at the Nest apartments in Manikonda. “When I rented this apartment, I noticed how our neighbouring families didn’t seem very happy with our presence there. We got constant stares, but things really got out of hand when they tried to assassinate our characters.
One day, the police turned up at our door. During this interaction, we came to know that they had issues with Muslim and Christian girls staying in the apartment. I face this in my profession daily, but seeing the same even in a residential set up is quite disappointing.”
While these are a few reported incidents, studies have found that landlords in India routinely discriminate against Muslims. In fact, it is reported that Muslims find it tough to even get responses for their applications to rent/buy homes. A small and unfortunate sample of the daunting reality that many have to face on a daily basis.