Divide is complete in Balapur, Saidabad

Hindus, Muslims prefer people of same religion; caste is also key criteria.

Hyderabad: Does ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai, sab mil kar hain bhai bhai’ stand true for certain areas in Hyderabad anymore? No, if one gauges the distrust and insecurity of those letting their houses out for rent.

Landlords in Saidabad and Balapur say they don’t want to share the roof with Muslims or Christians, because they ‘can’t be trusted’. In Dilsukhnagar and Serilingampally, on the other hand, owners try to subtly determine the caste and creed of house-hunters by probing their full names.

Mr Mohammed (name changed), a government official, recounted the troubles he and his family had to face while house hunting in Santosh Nagar near Balapur, about four years ago. “While I was turned away by many, others gave me a preferential treatment only because of the post I held,” he said.

“There seems to be a bias against the Muslim community that has only widened in the past five to six years. Landlords from the Hindu community did not wish to provide me and my family an accommodation mostly because of our food habits. They say that Muslims and Christians are not good people,” said Mr Mohammed. However, he added that such was the case with landlords of the Muslim community who shy away from renting out their homes to Hindu families “to avoid any risk of communal tensions in the future”.

Mr Akash (name changed), a businessman in Saifabad area, complained that Muslim home-owners refuse to share their roof with Hindu house-hunters. “This is a common practice in areas dominated by either community. They don’t want to risk potential tension in the future,” he said.

But even among Hindus, there are houses that are only rented out to Brahmins, with a separate ‘pooja’ room.

“There are the usual conditions such as small family, vegetarian, and limited parking slots, but owners also ask for surnames as they cannot ask for the caste name directly,” Ms Alluri Leena, a tenant in Dilsukhnagar said. “Vexed by the same question from house-owners, we started introducing ourselves with our ‘full name’ instead.”

A similar situation exists in and around Serilinga-mpally. A research scholar, Mr Shahal, faced such questions when he was hunting for a place recently. He was asked his second name before the owners revealed further details of the vacant premises. He also found boards stating that the home would be given only to Brahmins, in and around Doyens colony, apart from the usual ‘Non-Vegetarians not allowed’ board.

And in houses that are allotted only to Brahmins, an owner on the condition of anonymity, said that there are facilities like separate puja rooms. They were preferred as they follow a non-vegetarian diet and can mingle with neighbours without hesitation. “They have so much to share in common,” he said, without a trace of irony.

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