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Communalism

Moradabad: Residents Threaten 'Exodus' After Two Colony Houses Sold to Muslims

The police and district magistrate have reiterated people's right to buy property wherever they please.

New Delhi: After two houses in a middle-class neighbourhood in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad were sold to Muslims, 81 other residents have put up posters threatening an “exodus” and saying that all their houses are now for sale, the Indian Express reported.

Samuhik palayan. Yeh makaan bikau hai. Sampark karen. (Collective exit. This property is for sale. Please contact),” the poster on almost every door in Shiv Mandir Colony, Lajpat Nagar area reportedly says.

The posters have been up for about a week now, and residents say they posted them after two houses in the locality were sold to Muslims. In addition to the posters, Hindu residents have reportedly been gathering at the local Shiv mandir every day – claiming that they are “protecting” the temple.

The district administration, however, says this is a property issue.

When the Indian Express visited the area on Wednesday, both houses that have been reportedly sold to Muslims were found locked. One of the buyers, however, spoke to the newspaper and said they were not expecting such protests. “The administration knows about the law, and that it is our right to buy property and live where we like. The buyer and seller are both happy so it’s fine. We are brothers… I was not expecting such a reaction, I feel this is somehow connected to politics by people who inflame matters,” the buyer said.

Hindu residents claimed that “living separately” is better. “There is a mutual understanding that they will live in their areas, and we will live in ours, and that has been working well. Why do they forcefully want to come live here and spoil the atmosphere. Our cultures are different. We have our own festivals that we want to celebrate in our own way. They will do qurbaani during their festivals,” Gaurav Kohli, a businessman who lives in the area, told the newspaper.

District magistrate Shailendra Kumar Singh said a probe has been ordered in light of the protests. “There are 81 houses in the colony. The owners of two houses sold their properties around two months ago to people belonging to the Muslim community. On Monday, a joint team of the district administration and police conducted a probe. No one is staying in those houses and they are locked from outside…” he said, according to the Indian Express.

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“We have tried to convince the people that no one can stop anyone from selling their property to any individual. It has come to light that a few local residents were interested to buy those [two] properties and have now come to know those have already been sold,” he continued.

The police issued a statement reiterating people’s right to buy property wherever they wish. “It is the constitutional right of everyone to live in any part of the country,” the police statement says. “Some people on social media are deliberately making an attempt to disturb the communal harmony. Action will be taken against such people.”

A Pew Research Center study released earlier this year found that segregated living is common in India and often preferred. “…Indians’ commitment to tolerance is accompanied by a strong preference for keeping religious communities segregated. For example, Indians generally say they do not have much in common with members of other religious groups, and large majorities in the six major groups say their close friends come mainly or entirely from their own religious community. That’s true not only for 86% of India’s large Hindu population, but also for smaller groups such as Sikhs (80%) and Jains (72%),” the study found.