The broker accused of getting 25-year-old Misbah Qadri evicted from a flat in Wadala because she is a Muslim has denied the accusation, claiming Qadri was told to leave as she had failed to submit the necessary documents.
The broker, who did not wish to be named, said he had filed a police complaint against Qadri way back on April 16, 10 days after she moved into the 3-BHK flat at a building in Wadala (E).
Sayajirao Fadtare, senior inspector at Wadala police station, said, “On April 16, the flat’s broker submitted a complaint, which stated that Qadri had not submitted all the required documents and asked us to take the necessary steps.” No FIR has been registered.
Kiran Chavan, deputy commissioner of police, port zone, added, “On the face of it, it does not seem like the builder or the building’s residents have any problem people from the Muslim community living there.”
Fadtare said that the building has three other Muslim tenants, all of whom have submitted the necessary documents. HT visited the building on Thursday and confirmed this. A Muslim couple, who did not wish to be identified, said they had been living in the 10-storey building for the past six months without any problems. On another floor, a Muslim woman from Lucknow, who lives there with two room-mates, said she were surprised about the allegations of discrimination as her religion had never been an issue there. All the tenants HT spoke to preferred to remain anonymous.
Rajesh Nasnolkar, the building’s supervisor, said it did not have any policy barring Muslims or members of any other minority, and was in fact home to several Catholic families as well. “The issue was between the broker and the tenant, and the builder had no role in it. I think it was a brokerage issue,” he said.
Qadri, however, maintains that the broker harassed her because of her religion and not because of any documents. She said, “I found out about the flat through a social media website, and contacted the two girls who were living there directly to avoid having to pay brokerage. But the day I moved in (April 6), the broker told me I was unwelcome as a Muslim.”
She added that the broker should have asked her roommates for the relevant documents, as it was they who had invited her to join them. She added while she eventually gave in to the alleged harassment and moved out on May 10, the two other girls moved out on May 18, after staying on for the notice period.
Qadri also said she did not approach the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) or any other organisation with her case, as she did not know the legal recourse for religious discrimination. It had been reported on Thursday that an advocate, Shehzad Poonawalla, had written to the NCM about Qadri’s case, but she claims it was his idea, not hers.
“It was only after my story appeared in a newspaper that I was approached by Shehzad Poonawalla, who asked me I was fine with a complaint letter to the NCM. And while reports are claiming that I was in touch with a social activist to knock on the NCM’s doors, I maintain I am not in contact with any activist,” she said.
Qadri, who has been living in Mumbai for five years, said it was only on Wednesday evening that she even got to know about the application.
Qadri, who is originally from Gujarat has previously lived at Mira Road and Malad, and has now shifted to a Bandra hostel.
HT was unable to contact Qadri’s two former roommates for comment.