'They Said We Don't Give Flats to Muslims,' Alleges 25-Year-Old Woman in Mumbai

Misbah Qadri, 25, alleges that she was forced to vacate an apartment because she is a Muslim

Mumbai: Just a week after she moved into an apartment in Mumbai, Misbah Qadri, a communications professional, was asked to leave. "I was told that they do not give flats to Muslim people," she says.

The 25-year-old had found a three-bedroom apartment at Sanghvi Heights in Wadala after a long, difficult search. She rented the flat with two working women who contacted her on Facebook, both Hindu.

When she was about to move in, the broker allegedly told her that the housing society does not allow Muslims. Misbah was allegedly asked to submit her resume and sign a disclaimer that said if she faced any harassment from her neighbours because of her religion, the builder would not be held responsible.

Misbah found the terms offensive, but had no choice as she already given up her previous apartment.

A week later, however, she was allegedly asked by the broker to vacate the apartment. So were her friends, for supporting her.

"Everyone has a limit to what they can take. I have reached mine," she said, now in a flat she found through a Muslim broker.

The housing society has denied her allegation.

"We allow Muslim people to stay here. The broker should be asked about it," said Rajesh, the supervisor of Sanghvi Heights.

Lawyer and activist Shehzad Poonawala has drawn the attention of the National Minorities Commission to Misbah's case.

Last week in the city, 23-year-old MBA Zeshan Khan was denied a job by a multi-national jewellery exports company, which said in an email: "We regret to inform you that we hire only non-Muslim candidates." The company blamed the email on a trainee in its HR department.

Misbah Qadri, who grew up in Gujarat, says she was exposed to discrimination in the aftermath of the 2002 communal violence in the state. "I have faced discrimination in Mumbai also," she said.

Once, she said, she was asked by a broker whether she wore a burqa. "When I said no, he agreed. He said then no one will know you are Muslim. Don't interact with people," she shared.