Real estate agents who, citing orders from the police, had asked 25 Nigerian students residing at Royal Palms in Aarey Colony of Goregaon to vacate their rented flats within 15 days now claim they have no problems with Nigerians with legals documents and clean records.
The agents have now placed the onus on the local police, which in turn say they had not indulged in any racial profiling. Only general instructions were issued to ensure tenants, irrespective of nationality, were registered with the police, officers said.
Meanwhile, all 25 students are busy collecting and updating their documents to be submitted at the police station within five days. “We want the police to verify our documents. We want them to let us stay till we complete our course. We are not illegal people or criminals, but just students,” said Yewande Siwoku, a third-year student of BSc-IT at a college in Vile Parle.
Ritu Borle, owner of real estate agency Goregaon Real Estate, said, “Why are we asked not to rent out flats to Nigerians? The government should instead stop issuing visas to them. That is where they must check whether they have legal documents. Once they come here, we cannot deny them services or else we will be accused of racial discrimination.” Borle helped almost 10-15 Nigerian students find flats in Royal Palms. However, after a meeting with the Aarey police on August 27, she issued notices to all of them asking them to vacate their flats by September 15.
Sameer Shaikh, also an estate agent, said, “If those with bogus documents or those involved in criminal practices are caught by the police, it is risky for us as well. But not entertaining all Nigerians is no solution.”
An officer with the Aarey police said, “It is up to the landlords to rent a flat to a Nigerian or not. However, if any illegal activity is seen in that rented flat, we will take action against the landlord as well as the estate agent.”
“We are not indulging in any racial profiling. We have simply instructed landlords to register details of their tenants with the local police station, which is the norm for all. We have definitely not instructed estate agents to ask Nigerian students to vacate the premises,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Dhananjay Kamalakar.