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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Two houses in Moradabad locality sold to Muslims, residents threaten exodus

As part of their protest, the residents gather every day at the Shiv temple in their colony. A banner at the entry to the temple announces that the entire neighourhood is up for sale. The residents claim “protecting” the temple is also driving this protest.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | Moradabad |
Updated: August 5, 2021 7:17:30 am
A poster outside a house in Moradabad’s Shiv Mandir Colony reads that it is up for sale. (Express photo by Gajendra Yadav)

Residents of a middle-class neighbourhood in Western Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad have put up posters declaring that their houses are up for sale and threatening an exodus from the neighbourhood after two properties there were sold to Muslims, although the district administration suggests a property issue at the heart of the matter.

Almost every door in Shiv Mandir Colony in the city’s Lajpat Nagar area bears a poster saying: “Samuhik palayan. Yeh makaan bikau hai. Sampark karen. (Collective exit. This property is for sale. Please contact).” The posters were put up late last week, and the residents claim it is because of the sale of two properties in the neighbourhood to Muslims.

On Wednesday, both these properties, located at two separate entry points of the small neighbourhood, were found locked.

“There is a mutual understanding that they will live in their areas, and we will live in ours, and that has been working well. Why do they forcefully want to come live here and spoil the atmosphere. Our cultures are different. We have our own festivals that we want to celebrate in our own way. They will do qurbaani during their festivals,” said Gaurav Kohli, a businessman whose family has been living there for the past 40 years.

As part of their protest, the residents gather every day at the Shiv temple in their colony. A banner at the entry to the temple announces that the entire neighourhood is up for sale. The residents claim “protecting” the temple is also driving this protest.

Taking note of the protest, the administration has conducted a probe into the matter, said District Magistrate Shailendra Kumar Singh, who visited the locality with the Moradabad SSP Tuesday.

“There are 81 houses in the colony. The owners of two houses sold their properties around two months ago to people belonging to the Muslim community. On Monday, a joint team of the district administration and police conducted a probe. No one is staying in those houses and they are locked from outside…,” said Singh.

“We have tried to convince the people that no one can stop anyone from selling their property to any individual. It has come to light that a few local residents were interested to buy those [two] properties and have now come to know those have already been sold.”

The police have also issued a statement, iterating the freedom of people to live anywhere. The statement said the police found that the residents want that no property there be sold to “outsiders” without their consent.

“Some people are deliberately trying to disturb communal harmony over this issue through social media. Legal action will be taken against such people,” the statement said, in a possibly reference to rumours and accusations circulating in the neighbourhood.

Vivek Sharma, who claims to have lived there for 33 years, said, “We have heard that they bought these properties for 2-4 times the actual rate. Why did they do that when they can buy property anywhere in Moradabad?”

Asked from where he came to know about the rates, Sharma said, “It has to be, because there are people among us who are willing to buy these properties. Why else would it be sold to them? We are ready to buy the properties. Our demand is that these sales be reversed.”

One of the new owners, who did not want to be named, said he did not expect a protest.

“The administration knows about the law, and that it is our right to buy property and live where we like. The buyer and seller are both happy so it’s fine. We are brothers… I was not expecting such a reaction, I feel this is somehow connected to politics by people who inflame matters,” said the buyer.– with inputs from Manish Sahu, Lucknow

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