Interview: Emraan Hashmi on discrimination against Muslims


News Agency PTI Radically Distorted What I Said’
Actor Emraan Hashmi raised a storm about being discriminated as a Muslim. NEHA DIXIT asks him why he recanted 10 days later
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Photo: AFP
With Mahesh Bhatt’s help, you ran an entire campaign against the Pali Hill Society for discriminating against you for being a Muslim, only to pull out. Why?
I didn’t pull out. I have mentioned this earlier too. It is a clear example of how Chinese whispers operate. There is a certain section of the press that stated this.
After the Minority Commission’s meeting, you said that there was some miscommunication because of the agent and the Society did not discriminate against you.
I repeat that I did not say that there was any miscommunication. I stand by what I said. It was the news agency PTI that radically distorted what I said. I sat down for a small twominute press conference after we adjourned the meeting and said that the matter has been blown out of proportion. I also advised the press to speak to the Minority Commission representatives and my lawyer and take their legal comments. My silence was misconstrued as backtracking. The press divided itself. Some said that I am backtracking and some were fair and said that the decision was the Commission’s verdict.
When you were denied a No Objection Certificate by the Society, what gave you the impression that they are discriminating against you because you are a Muslim?
I don’t want to go back into what I said a week ago because it has already created a lot of controversy. I didn’t make a hue and cry out of thin air. I had reasons to believe that they discriminated against me on religious grounds.
The media alleges that you gave up the issue for peace. What was the pressure?
The best way to resolve the issue was to approach a legal body, which was the Minority Commission. They was a hearing and both the parties sat across the table. The Minority Commission felt that the issue had been blown out of the proportion and had been politicised. They wanted to reach a peaceful agreement. I respected the Commission’s stand and accepted their verdict. Having said that, when I was in the meeting I did not back out from my stand. I did raise the issue of discrimination against Muslims.
The Society residents now expect a public apology.
Nothing of the sort. A lot of these things were cleared up in the meeting. The press had written that my parents had barged in the Society meeting but the Society accepted that nothing like that had happened.
‘The Minority Commission felt the issue was blown out of proportion and had been politicised’
So will you be buying the flat now?Right now, the seller has backed out. But the Society has told me that there will be no issues if I want to buy a flat.
It is alleged that this controversy was a publicity stunt.
There are people who are saying that it is a publicity stunt. As an actor, as a citizen of this country I have the right to speak up about my experiences. Rather than breathe down my throat and tell me that what I am doing is wrong, why not hear someone out.
Nobody from Bollywood, except Mahesh Bhatt, supported you. Salman Khan even said that the matter depends on a person’s character and not religion.
That’s wrong. Lots of people spoke up for me. That’s his point of view. Because it has not happened to them does not mean it cannot happen to me. At the same time, I don’t want to generalise and say that it happens with the entire country. I am talking about my individual experiences and I should be given a chance to speak about it.
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 33, Dated August 22, 2009
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