PALGHAR police on Saturday evening booked 11 persons for allegedly intending to outrage and hurt the religious feelings of a 35-year-old Muslim man by denying him his right to buy a flat in the Vasai housing society.
According to police, the complaint was filed by Vikarahemad Khan after he approached the Manikpur police station claiming that the housing society had passed a “resolution” to deny him to make the purchase. Manikpur police station has booked the accused under sections 295 (A) (injuring with intent to insult the religion) and 298 (uttering, words, etc, with deliberate intent to wound the religious feeling of any person) of the Indian Penal Code. Eleven committee members of one Happy Jivan, a housing society in Vasai, held a meeting to raise objections to the sale. Police said that flatowner Kantaben Patel (55) and her son Jignesh Patel (32) were handed over a “resolution” passed by the committee after they agreed to sell their 1BHK apartment to Vikarahemad Khan at Rs 47 lakh. Palghar police booked all those persons who signed on the “resolution”. Eight Gujaratis, two Maharashtrians and one person who hailed from Uttar Pradesh, all who lived in the same building, made up the list of accused in the matter.
The resolution addressed to Katnaben Patel, the house owner, read, “It is learnt that you intend to sell your flat to some Muslim guy. We feel that you should not do so as it may cause society’s atmosphere in future.” This resolution has now been taken on record along with the FIR. The building has 16 flats, including two Muslim families who were given the flats by the builder and “stayed away” from the committee and its decision, police said. The letter, according to investigators, reportedly stated an “advise” to the Patels to sell their flat to “any other person preferably within our community”.
The Patels had shot off letters to the sub-registrar of housing societies and the Manikpur police station complaining about the society’s discrimination. Patel said, “We wanted to sell the house, how could the society object? Khan was ready to pay the price we asked him.” Khan, who runs the Glass Shop in Vasai and lives with his three children and his wife, wanted to move to a bigger house preferably in the same area. He lives about 100 meters away from Happy Jivan Society that is denying him a flat.
Khan told The Indian Express that he had given a token of Rs 1 lakh to the Patels a couple of days ago and wanted a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the society to apply for a loan. “I currently live in a one-room kitchen and wanted a spacious house. This new house would have been closer to my children’s school. It’s also walking distance from the local railway station.” Police said all the accused have claimed they “objected together” as they did not want “anymore non-vegetarian” food to be cooked in society.
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“We live in the same Sai Nagar area of Vasai since 2003 after moving from Agra. I had a doubt about the society’s decision to give me a house but Patel assured me it will be sorted out. I have also faced it before in the same area its not new for us,’ added Khan. “They are frankly not my enemies. I will still move in if I get an NOC.”