In the age when foreign diplomats come to our country commenting on our excellent policies of secularism a housing society in Mumbai’s posh Pali Hill has done the unthinkable. Actor Emraan Hashmi would have never thought that the simple act of buying a house close to his parents would result in him facing discrimination on the grounds of him being a Muslim. The actor was refused an apartment by Pali Hill’s Nibbana Co-Operative Society and asked, albeit politely, to go and look somewhere else. The actor has filed an official complaint with the State Minorities Commission demanding immediate action against the society officials as he feels it’s because of him being a Muslim.

The State Minorities Commission’s vice-chairman Mr. Abraham Mathai has confirmed that Emraan had filed a complaint saying the society had refused to give him a no-objection certificate even after he had paid the token amount of Rs 1 Lakh. The commission has sent a summons to the society asking for an explanation on the matter. The well known actor who has been extremely hurt by this incident says, “My parents went to meet society members last week with the seller and broker. Society however told them that they were busy and refused to meet them. I found it really offensive. The seller has now informed us that the society will not give us an NOC and it has blocked the sale. I have been extremely hurt by this incident and will make sure that I get justice”

This act of blatant discrimination goes to show that even the crème de la crème of Mumbai often face such insulting and humiliating situations. This is not the first time Mumbai has witnessed such an embarrassing ordeal. In the past veterans like Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar and even superstar Aamir Khan have been refused houses in Juhu and Lokhandwala just because of their religion.

However the housing society’s secretary says that he received a letter last week from the Hashmi’s but no decision was taken as the chairman of the committee wasn’t present at the time. The society claims, “There is no ban on Muslims in our society. We know all Muslims are not terrorists and we have people from all over the country and from different walks of life staying here”. This has been said inspite of the token amount having been given to the concerned officials and thus the Hashmi’s legal right to receive an answer. Film Producer Mahesh Bhatt has condemned this incident and says, “Nobody has any right to refuse anything to anybody on the basis of religion. We live in a democracy and everyone has the right to reside wherever he wosh’s to. Whatever the facts maybe, it is indeed terrible to see that in spite of all the exposure and education these people must have received, the fact of the matter remains that they have different rules for different religions.”

This recent case of religious discrimination is truly unfortunate not only for the Muslims of this country but for all the rest as well.


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