Nine members, including two women, of a housing society in Vasai (West), north of Mumbai, were arrested on Monday for disrupting communal harmony by refusing to allow a Muslim man to buy a flat there. All the members of Happy Jivan Society, Sai Nagar, including its secretary Jeetendra Jain, who were arrested under Section 298 (uttering words to hurt the religious sentiments) and 295 A (deliberate acts intended to hurt religious feelings) of the IPC, are out on bail.
A case was registered on Saturday against 11 members of the society, but only nine were arrested because two members were not in the city, the police said.
The arrests were made a day after a six-member executive committee of the society held a meeting on Sunday morning and agreed to clear the sale of the flat. However, the committee did not specify when they would issue the NOC to Kantaben Patel, 55, who intended to sell it to Vikar Ahmed Khan, 32, a glass merchant from Vasai.
According to the police, on September 4, the accused had signed a resolution raising objections to Patel’s decision, even though Khan had paid a token amount of Rs1 lakh.
A delay by Jain in the issuance of an NOC to Jain meant the sale was unsuccessful.
The secretary had openly written to Patel asking her to sell the flat to all but a Muslim “in the interest of the members of the society”, as the 16-storey building were opposed to have a non-vegetarian family.
Although there are two Muslim families residing in the 36-year-old society, they were not in town when the resolution was adopted, the police said said.
Patel and her son Jignesh, 32, had approached the sub-registrar of societies, Vasai, for justice because the 710 sqft first floor flat is lying unsold due to the non-issuance of the NOC from Jain. The deal was settled at Rs48 lakh.
The buyer had even taken loans from banks to purchase the flat.