By Farzana Versey,
“At around 9.30, I was told that some locals had a problem with me being a Muslim. I was categorically asked to hand over the keys so that my belongings could be shifted out immediately. I was told that I shouldn’t enter the building again or I would be hurt.”
Majid Khan and his wife Gayatri had signed an agreement, gone through police verification and shifted their belongings to enter their new rented home on May 1.
The owner Jyoti Rege told Mumbai Mirror, that ran the story, he did not want to rent his flat out anymore.
V Ramnathan, the chairman of the building, Venkatesh Sadan at Chembur, said, “We were warned that no Muslims should live here. In any case, all the flat-owners here have decided not to allow him (Majid).”
The estate agent who brokered the deal confirmed that the owner had no option but to back out. He and Rege will compensate Majid Khan with Rs. 21,000 for the expenses incurred to shift his belongings, apart from returning the rent and deposit amount.
This is, of course, not the first case. Here, even though the wife is a Hindu there was a problem. It is the sheer temerity with which they are keeping Muslims out that is worrying. These are local citizens. The cops had cleared Majid, a businessman.
I only hope he files a case against the building authorities, the owner and the residents. No one can renege on an agreement just like that, that too at the last minute. There is also the threat angle. If some locals had pressurised the building society members, then the members have to identify those goons.
If none of these actions are taken, then the cops who gave Majid the clean chit need to be dragged to court as well.
Will Majid Khan do this? Is it worth the time and money? The residents do not even know the couple; it is not as though they had created any trouble. There is no tangible reason. This is clearly a case of discrimination based on religion.
The owner pleads helplessness; the society members will do the same. The ruffians will be blamed and since no one will recognise them, the case will be shut. All the Majid Khans in this super cosmopolitan city will be left to look for a nook that has only ‘their’ people although they do not think in this narrow manner.
I am sickened that few feel any anger about such situations anymore.
Farzana Versey is a Mumbai based author and blogs at http://farzana-versey.blogspot.com/