Sunday, December 14, 2008

House for Mr Ali

Tales of link between terrorism and discrimination against Muslims abound, but few show this link to be so direct, so shameless. In the aftermath of the Bombay attacks, some 300 real estate agents in Surat declared in a meeting that they will not rent or sell houses or shops to any Muslims, apparently because the terrorists who attacked Bombay had 'local supporters'. This is but the latest pretext for discrimination which is based entirely on prejudice. Food-preference has been used to deny housing to 'non-vegetarians' (read Muslims) in the past.

A Bill to combat discrimination in the private (and public) sector has been on the table for a while, along with other related measures. The issue has been discussed on this blog before.

One wonders how pervasive such discrimination is. We have sporadic media reports and anecdotal evidence. Even the Sachar report does not have any data on discrimination on the grounds of religion (or other grounds, including food-preference, marital status, sexual orientation, caste, gender identity and ethnic identity) in the housing sector in India. Can anyone point to any systematic study in this area, even if it is for a small geographical region?
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