‘Hindus eat non-veg too. So why refuse a Muslim?’ asks Jignesh Patelhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/housing-society-mumbai-hindu-muslim-jignesh-patel-3048646/

‘Hindus eat non-veg too. So why refuse a Muslim?’ asks Jignesh Patel

Jignesh Patel is the man who took on his Mumbai housing society to sell his flat to a Muslim

Last week, Happy Jivan Cooperative Housing Society, near Mumbai, denied an NOC to Jignesh Patel, who wanted to sell his flat to a Muslim. An FIR was filed by the prospective buyer, Vikar Ahmed Khan. On the basis of it, 10 society members were booked. The matter is now settled

Did you imagine you would face such a problem?

I was in need of money and so, in April, decided to sell my flat. Vikar Ahmed Khan approached me. After he paid me a token amount of Rs 1 lakh, I went to the society for an NOC. I even told the society members I would not mind giving preference to a society member if anyone was willing to buy it. The offer made was lower than what Khan promised. So I decided to sell it to him.

Khan had expressed apprehension that the society may not allow Muslims. I assured him that the society would not do something like that as two Muslim families already lived there. It is unbelievable I had to go through such a situation.

What was your reaction on hearing the society’s decision?

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I was shocked. I wondered whether someone had any personal rivalry with me. The society has residents from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, and two Muslim families. How would the atmosphere get disturbed by adding one more Muslim family? Also, even Hindus eat non-vegetarian food. So why refuse a Muslim?

But there are many societies in Mumbai which do not allow Muslims or non-vegetarian eaters.

The act (by Jivan Society) was wrong and hurtful. Even if a Hindu family had been denied a house by a Muslim society and if that person had come to me, I would have helped out. It’s not about religion. I will always stand by those who are being discriminated in this way.

Should the society members have been arrested for denying NOC?

I didn’t want to turn it into a big issue. I also the matter to be sorted out through mutual understanding, but they were not willing. That’s when I decided to seek legal help.

Should discrimination of this sort be punished?

There must be punishment as per law. I am not that educated but still have the wisdom to know that you cannot discriminate against anyone on the basis of religion, caste, language and region. On the other hand, I also believe that god forgives first mistakes. When society members apologised, I forgave them. Khan bhai has also forgiven the members and has decided to move into the society.