House owners shut doors on Muslims in Kovai

Hospitality of textile city ends when a prospective tenant says that he belongs to Islam, claim those who have been at the receiving end of the harassment

Published: 09th September 2013 09:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2013 12:15 PM   |  A+A-


Money alone would not get you a home on rent in Coimbatore, if you happen to be a Muslim. The textile city, which is otherwise famed for its hospitality, is disgustingly polarised on communal lines making it difficult for those belonging to the minority community to rent a home.

Recalling his bitter experience when numerous house owners shut their doors on him when he went home-hunting after migrating from Chennai, Sadiq Basha of Karumbukkadai said: “When I would first approach home owners, they would be extremely warm and welcoming. I remember this one incident when we had worked out all the particulars with an owner, but after I mentioned my name, they immediately became cagey, eventually refusing me the home after a couple of days.”

Such blatant instances of discrimination, in fact, transcend traditional class and income boundaries.

In a posh gated community near Ramanathapuram here, residents claimed that there is a tacit understanding between home owners to not rent homes to Muslim families.

“I was shocked at the blatancy with which the community members expressed their unwillingness to rent out homes to Muslims. It seemed surreal at the time that even educated members of our society still subscribe to large scale stereotyping of a community,” a resident rued.

Disputing the charge, Lakshman, president of the gated community, insisted, “In our complex, there are four or five Muslim families.” When asked if he could provide the names of the families, Lakshman said he could not as over 800 families were living in the gated community.

Sushil Deshpande, a real estate agent and broker, however alleged that even if owners agreed to rent out homes to Muslim families, the rates could be up to 30 percent higher for them than for Hindu or Christian families in certain areas in Coimbatore.


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