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Page last updated at 13:41 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 14:41 UK

Muslim star claims housing bias

By Zubair Ahmed
BBC News, Mumbai

Emraan Hashmi
Mr Hashmi says housing societies generally discriminate against Muslims

A Bollywood actor has alleged he was refused a flat in an upmarket part of Mumbai because of his Muslim faith.

Emraan Hashmi says that a housing society in Pali hill, home to many Bollywood stars, blocked his purchase.

But a statement issued by the housing society says it has not taken any decision on whether to allow him to buy a flat in its apartment building.

Mr Hashmi says he has lodged a complaint with the Minorities Commission of Maharashtra.

He says the housing society in Pali hill refused to issue a certificate necessary to buy or rent a flat in Mumbai.

He has also demanded that the state government takes action against the housing society.

Complaints

Mr Hashmi held a press conference on Friday in which he also said that housing societies in Mumbai are discriminating against Muslims.

Mumbai skyline
Pali Hill is one of the most exclusive areas of Mumbai

"I had finalised a deal to buy a flat in Pali hill but the society refused to issue a No Objection Certificate because I am a Muslim," he said.

His uncle, the film-maker Mahesh Bhatt, said that it was important to highlight the issue because discrimination by housing societies against Muslims was widespread.

Last year another Bollywood actor, Zulfi Sayed, also alleged that he was denied a flat in a suburb of Mumbai because he was Muslim.

Mumbai's suburbs are dotted with multi-storey apartment buildings - each of which is run by a housing society. They have a lot of power, including the right to accept or refuse a tenant or a buyer.

They can also evict an existing member on the grounds of breaking the society's rules.

Some Hindus have also claimed that they find it difficult to rent or buy a flat in exclusive Muslim suburbs or buildings.



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