Housing ads on web portal say ‘Muslims not allowed’, taken off

In a clear case of religious discrimination, a private real estate agency had placed advertisements for properties in a web portal that carried a rider — "Muslims not allowed" — with them. The advertisements, reportedly put up sometime last week, were pulled out Thursday morning.

The advertisements placed by a Wadala-based agency, M/S Jacinta Estates, on popular real estate website 99acres.com said "no Muslim allowed" to buy or rent a property in Dadar. Another advertisement was that of a 500-square feet flat put up for rent at Mira Road in Thane. Both advertisements were first modified and later removed from the website.

The State Minority Commission record shows that in every neighbourhood of the city, discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, food habits, is rampant and that the commission has received several such complaints. "Just that in those cases nothing is given in writing, and here it is right in your face," said Munaf Hakim, the commission's chairperson. He said action would be initiated against the website, the real estate dealer and the seller. "It has increasingly become difficult for Muslims to buy or rent a house in the city. There are cases of Muslim families, who have bought flats, but the society took objection in transferring the title on their names," said Hakim adding that it is a clear violation of an individual's constitutional rights.

However, the website 99 acres, owned by a classifieds company Info Edge (India) Limited said it was unaware the website was misused.

"At any point in time, 99acres has over 400,000 classified listings. These are uploaded directly by advertisers on the site using our self-service online interface. The offensive text was removed from the listing by the advertiser before the matter was brought to our notice. We are in the process of investigating the matter in more detail," Hakim told The Indian Express.

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