Kashmiri singer Aadil Gurezi alleged on Monday that his landlord had kicked him out of his home following his return from Kashmir in September, The Wire reported. Gurezi had left for his home in Bandipore district on August 1. However, following his return, his roommates informed him that he could no longer continue to stay in his rented apartment.

“I had left for home on August 1 and returned on September 3,” Gurezi told The Wire. “I had no contact with my friends and roommates here for all these days. When I got back, I was told I could not live here anymore.”

Gurezi, who has a postgraduate degree in environmental science, came to Mumbai over a year ago to make his career in the music industry. He sings both Kashmiri and Hindi songs.

Gurezi’s alleged eviction came over a month after the Centre revoked special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. “It is as though the city has applied Article 370 on Kashmiris,” he said. “Like, back home, non-Kashmiris could not claim rights over our land until recently, in a similar way, Kashmiris too seem to have been put under Article 370 in Indian cities. Not being able to rent a house in the city is unfair.”

Gurezi said he had been warned over a year ago that it would be difficult for him to rent a house in Mumbai as a Kashmiri. He was advised to get an agreement signed in the name of his Hindu friend, a compromise he agreed to.

Brokers Dinesh Rajput and Rashid denied that Gurezi was driven out because he is a Kashmiri or a Muslim. However, his flatmate Ajay Shankar said: “Soon after Aadil left, the rent agreement had to be renewed. The brokers wanted to avoid possible problems of leasing out a space to a Kashmiri.” Shankar also played recorded phone calls between him and Rajput, in which the broker said he does not want to take any chances “owing to the ongoing Kashmir problem”.

Gurezi is currently staying at a friend’s house in a suburb in Western Mumbai. “But this is a temporary arrangement,” he said. “How long can Kashmiris stay here like this? We need to be accepted with dignity and without any suspicion.”

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