House for Muslims

On 16/9/2010 at 8.00 p.m. CNN-IBN carried a report “A House for Mr. Khan”. The report claimed it exposed urban India’s worst kept secret – Muslims face discrimination in getting houses.

May be for CNN-IBN it was urban India’s worst kept secret but others knew about the difficulties Muslims face and other communities face. Emran Hashmi, Saif Ali Khan and Shabana Azmi had problems in getting houses. However there are many builders and owners who sell flats to Muslims and the reporter did not contact them. Some housing societies are for Muslims only and others can not get flats there. If the reporter had gone there and had asked whether they would sell flats to people of other communities the answer would have been no.

Some housing societies are for vegetarians only, that means for Jains, Marwadis and Gujaratis. Marathi people can not get flats there. Some housing societies are for particular communities and member of any other community is unable to buy a flat there. Sometimes owners are ready to sell flats to others but society does not give NOC. In Poona one Hindu woman wanted to sell her flat to a Muslim family, the managing committee members saw the surnames of buyers and presumed they were Hindus and agreed. Some days later when managing committee members saw the buyers they realised they were Muslims and did not want them there.

Article 15 of the constitution of India states that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. In Gujarat a Parsi housing society refused membership to a Non-Parsi. The matter went to High Court and the judgment was that housing society is a private body and it can refuse membership.

Muslims facing discrimination in getting houses is not the whole truth. Why did Cobrapost prepare the report and CNN-IBN air it? One reason could be to prepare a ground for legislation to reserve flats for Muslims in housing societies.

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  1. There is no doubt that housing societies decide who can purchase a house in their society and many a times a decision is made that only people from the same community will be allowed to purhase.

    While this is discriminatory against the other communities and against the constitution of India to discriminate based on a religion or a community, what if it is that a particular community is associated with a particular attribute such as non-vegetarianism, non-tolerance, etc which would make all of the communities uncomfortable to reside together.

    While this is definitely wrong, in India, this seems like the right way to go about to ensure peace among the residents.

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