Mumbai: A day after The Wire reported that a 24-year-old Kashmiri singer was evicted from his rented house in Mumbai for being a Kashmiri, the police intervened.
Two brokers had allegedly asked Aadil Gurezi, a Bandipore resident, to leave his rented flat in Mumbai, where Gurezi had been living for over a year, simply because he was Kashmiri. Soon after Gurezi narrated his ordeal to The Wire on September 8, he was contacted by the Mumbai police authorities, who have assured him of a safe stay in the city.
“As soon as the story as published (in The Wire), I got a call from police inspector Raghunath Kadam of Oshiwara police station informing me that the police have got in touch with the house owner and the agents. The officer assured me that I would be able to live in the city without any hassles,” Gurezi told The Wire.
Gurezi, a 24-year-old bilingual (Kashmiri and Hindi) singer and a social media sensation, had been asked to evict his flat in the western Mumbai suburbs on September 3. According to Gurezi, he had left Mumbai on August 1 to visit his hometown. On August 5, as the Narendra Modi-led government decided to read down Article 370 of the constitution, the situation became tense in the Valley. The communication blockade in Kashmir forced Gurezi to stay back for over a month. When he returned, he was informed that he cannot stay in his rented flat any longer.
Soon after Gurezi’s story became public, he says, he was contacted by several well-wishers from across the world. “I am inundated with messages. Unknown people have offered to help me with a place to stay and expressed their solidarity,” he said.
“Conditions back home continue to be stressed. But it feels good to know that so many Indian citizens are willing to have a humane approach to the issue and have expressed their support to me. I am touched,” Gurezi said. He said among those who contacted him were his fans, the general public, human rights activists, lawyers and even the police.
Responding to the incident, Sanjay Barve, the commissioner of Mumbai police, is quoted in Mid-Day as saying, “Mumbai Police is always there to protect the rights of every citizen. I personally spoke to him to ensure that he is safe in the city. They are citizens of India and nobody has the right to behave with them in such a manner.”
The two brokers who had asked Gurezi to move out of the house “owing to the problems in Kashmir” had denied his allegations. A senior police official at the Oshiwara police station has said that the brokers were acting on their own volition and had neither consulted the house owner nor the police.
Gurezi, who is presently staying at a friend’s house, said he is hopeful that the city won’t disappoint him again. “The last week has been harrowing. But I am only glad that both the police and the public at large have empathised with my situation. I see there is hope for Kashmiris in Indian cities,” he added.