Muslim family in Meerut buys house in Hindu area: ‘Being accused of land jihad’

Youth leaders, including Deepak Sharma, general secretary of the BJYM, the BJP’s youth wing, claim that while Hindus are “continuously selling properties... Muslims are buying them”.

Written by Aditi Vatsa | Meerut | Updated: December 21, 2017 7:09 am
The portion of the house bought in the name of Nauman Ahmed in Meerut’s Maliwada area. (Express Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

IN A one-room house on the premises of Ismail Girls National Inter College in Meerut, Usman Ahmad picks up a smartphone and says, “If I am selling my property, say a mobile phone online, what is the reason behind it? I just want to sell my property and anyone can buy it — woman or man, Hindu or Muslim. My concern is that the property should be sold.”

For 32 years, Usman, his four siblings, parents and uncle have been living in a one-room accommodation provided by the government school where his father works. Early this month, the family bought a section of a two-storey building in the Maliwada area, less than a kilometre away, from Sanjay Rastogi, who runs a telecom business.

“We wanted a house of our own. My father’s on duty at night, so we wanted to buy a house close to the school. Moreover, this house does not have enough space for all of us. Hence, we purchased that property. But some people made it an issue and said that we were doing land jihad,” says Usman, a software engineer.

Around 8 pm on Sunday, six days after the property was registered in the name of Usman’s elder brother Nauman, their family reached the new home, House No. 308, Maliwada.

”When we reached the house, some people came and said that the house cannot be sold because Rastogi owed them money. While he was explaining that he was in the process of paying debts and that the property had nothing to do with that, some others reached the house and started sloganeering. They said that a Muslim family cannot be given the property,” Usman says.

Related Report: Muslim family gives up Meerut home after protests by residents

Soon, what had started with a simple transfer in ownership of property became a ground for pro-Hindutva groups launching a volley of allegations.

Youth leaders, including Deepak Sharma, general secretary of the BJYM, the BJP’s youth wing, claim that while Hindus are “continuously selling properties… Muslims are buying them”.

”Their culture, thoughts and way of life are different from ours. It starts with one house and slowly, the whole area will become Muslim-dominated. We cannot allow this to happen,” says Sharma.

Says Varsha Rastogi, a relative of Sanjay Rastogi, who stays in the area, “This is an ancestral property which belongs to his family and has been partitioned. Our portion of the house shares a terrace, two passages including one entry to their house. How will we live here if they move in?”

At the Kotwali police station, located between Usman’s government-school accommodation and the disputed property in Maliwada, the only document connected to the turn of events is a “compromise letter”.

The letter states that by February 17, 2018, the amount paid by Usman’s family will be returned and a compromise on the matter will be reached. “Our teams reached the spot but a consensus between the two parties was reached and we did not receive any complaint, so no FIR was registered,” says the SHO of the police station.

Nauman is also a software engineer like Usman, their two sisters are school teachers and the youngest brother is pursuing a Masters’ degree in Commerce. The family says it bought the new property at a cost of Rs 28.3 lakh.

“”We have taken a loan from the bank worth Rs 18,50,000. There were other expenses in acquiring the house — Rs 2.5 lakh for registration, Rs 10,000 for lawyers, Rs 20,000 to get some paperwork done in order to get the bank loan, etc. We have all the papers and the property has been registered in our name. If they purchase it, we will transfer the property. The house has cost us around Rs 33 lakh. We said that we are not asking you for profit, this is the overall expenditure we have incurred. Give that to us and we will return the property to you,” says Usman.

Residents of Maliwada, however, claim that a “conspiracy” was at play. “They want to acquire as much control in this area as they can. Ours is the only Hindu pocket here. On most sides, we are surrounded by Muslim localities. Around 50-100 metres away, they have a huge Jama Masjid. If you travel for 1-1.5 kilometres to the northeast from Maliwada, you have Hashimpura where riots broke out in the 1980s,” says Devendra Johri, a resident.

Usman’s family, on the other hand, does “not want any trouble”.

”People have made it a Hindu-Muslim issue and they are saying that we will not let Muslims purchase property here. We have put a lock there and it is in our possession. Now they have given us a timeframe. We do not want any trouble, especially with neighbours… Some people have a different mentality,” he says.

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  1. P
    Dec 22, 2017 at 4:34 pm
    Really hurtful that we are going backwards . I always lived with my hundu brothers all through my childhood to adulthood and without any problem. They always considered me as one of their own. Some lampoons will always bevthere in both community who will be bent on creating enimity. In this case Hindu brothers will give these criminals a be ing reply.
    1. Dec 22, 2017 at 4:17 pm
      It’s quite unbelievable that inspire of India having the 2nd largest Muslim population there is no Al Qaeda - No Isis etc etc - My take on this is Indian muslims want to live peacefully and have no interest in these fanatics therefore pls let’s focus on nation building and not on hatred and division building...Jai Hind
      1. Lovely Lovely
        Dec 22, 2017 at 9:07 pm
        But LeT, JeM etc are active.
      2. Shashikant R
        Dec 22, 2017 at 1:57 pm
        What nonsense is this. Lets agree for a second just to argue, why it took 15000years to realise that it’s land jihad, hahahahah jokers. Muslims came invaded us we should not forget but why hate in present about the past. Grow up. I’m a proud Indian and proud HINDU. And I have this much conscious to realise. We should stop this hateful behaviour. Both are doing wrong, it’s not even religious anymore it’s getting worse.
        1. Bozdar Mustafa
          Dec 22, 2017 at 1:16 pm
          Indian journalism and secularism is on the decrease in terms of both values and virtues due to hate bashing and dislike towards Muslims.......................Under BJP it keeps increasing and with couple of decades the secular quarters are on the hold...
          1. Manisha Naik
            Dec 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm
            Indians start JIHAD against Scamsters and Politicians playing divide and rule game.Its more then enough.Things will automatically fall into place.
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