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Muslim Couple Asked To Vacate Society Flat In Mumbai's Chembur

Majid Khan and his wife Gayatri had barely moved into their newly rented flat in Chembur on Saturday when they were asked to vacate because the housing society did not welcome Muslims. Majid was told
PTI May 02, 2010 10:33 IST
PTI

Majid Khan and his wife Gayatri had barely moved into their newly rented flat in Chembur on Saturday when they were asked to vacate because the housing society did not welcome Muslims. Majid was told to leave immediately and barred from stepping inside the building premises, reports Mumbai Mirror.

The couple had rented a flat on the first floor of Chembur's Venkatesh Sadan from May 1. They had signed the agreement, gone through police verification, and had even shifted their belongings.

But on Saturday morning, just minutes before guests were to arrive for a house-warming party starting at 10 am, the flat owner Jyoti Rege called Majid to say that he would have to move out, the Mirror report said. "At around 9.30, I was told that some locals had a problem with me being a Muslim," Majid told Mumbai Mirror.

"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 tried pleading with the landlord, saying he would explain his position to the society. However, he was told that he couldn't meet any of the officebearers.

 “When I realised that I would have to move out, I sought a few days' time. They said I could move my belongings later without entering the premises, but I couldn't stay in the building for even one more day,” said Majid.

When contacted, the owner of the house, Jyoti Rege, said: “I do not wish to give my house on rent anymore.” But Deepak Jagasia, the real estate agent, who had brokered the deal, confirmed that the owner had backed out after locals objected to a Muslim tenant in the building.

“He had no option than to back out,” Jagasia said. “Apart from returning the deposit and rent money, the owner and I have jointly offered to compensate Majid the Rs 21,000 that he had spent on shifting.”

Meanwhile, office-bearers of the society claimed that some locals had barged into the housing society on Friday night and threatened them with dire consequences if a Muslim was allowed to live there. V Ramnathan, the chairman of the building, 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).”

When contacted, High Court advocate Amit Sale described the incicent as a “gross violation” of fundamental rights. “The constitution guarantees no discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion or sex,” he said.