• Ojas Mehta
  •  25-09-2021 06:00 AM

Renting an accommodation or living as a paying guest in the city is not easy if you are a bachelor or an unmarried girl since most societies lease out homes only to married couples and families. But members of Ratna Paradise Society at Khoraj near Vaishnodevi, took their hostility against unmarried tenants several notches higher.

On September 1, members of the society allegedly hired bouncers to deny entry to the girl students of Nirma University who have rented flats in the society. Not only were they denied entry, but the bouncers and three security guards were also instructed to click their photographs on their cellphones. They even asked for phone numbers of the girl students, which according to landlord Yogesh Patel could be misused. Patel alleged the gates were shut for two-and-a-half hours, forcing the girls to wait outside amid the heavy  downpour. They were left crying on the road and with nowhere to go, he said.

 ‘Threat from society’

He told Mirror that he had bought a flat for himself and family and an additional flat with the explicit understanding with the builder that he intended to lease it out to girl students of Nirma University.  Patel alleged that a meeting was called by the members on August 27 where “they had planned to attack me with the help of hoodlums from outside the society.” “I am willing to provide evidence of this before the magistrate,” he said.

On August 28, Patel claims to have attempted to file an application about the possibility of attack on him but the ASI refused to accept it. “He asked me if I had a licence to give my flat on rent to the girls. When I told him that no licence is required, he told me to vacate the flat and lock it,” Yogesh Patel claimed.

‘Police intimidation’

He claimed Adalaj police officials called him on August 30 and ASI Nanavati told him that there were three to four complaints against him.

“My wife, son and I were made to sit at the police station from morning until evening. Around 7.30 pm, I was asked by ASI Nanavati to withdraw the application I had submitted to the Registrar of Societies, Gandhinagar and the consumer forum against society members or else he would arrest me and my wife. When I told him that he cannot keep a woman at the police station post sunset, he asked me not to teach him the rules,” Patel claimed.

Patel alleged he was forced to sign a letter as part of compromise to withdraw the aforementioned applications.
“I was also given a month to shift the girl students from my premises failing which, they said, they themselves would do it,” Patel said.

‘Resolution passed last October’
He told Mirror that last October a resolution was passed by the society members stating the flats in the building could only be leased out to families and not bachelors, unmarried women and students. Patel had later filed an application against this resolution with the District Registrar of Cooperative Societies and the Consumer forum and sought that a custodian should take over the management of the building.
“This had irked certain members who had decided to teach me a lesson. This is a civil case and not a criminal and the police should not have intervened,” Patel claimed.

Cops refute allegations
ASI Dashrath Nanavati refuted allegations that he threatened to arrest Yogesh Patel and his wife. “We cannot arrest a woman after sunset. So the allegation is false. Besides, the job of accepting applications is that of the PSO. I had a dead body case at Narmada canal that day and had left the matter to the society members to thrash out a compromise. It is a civil matter and the police have no role to play in this,” he told Mirror.
Yogesh Patel has complained to the police against the high-handed approach of society members Karan Khiyani, Arun Joshi, Hiren Shah and Amit Raval and written letters to the Adalaj Police Station PI, the chief minister and the state home minister.

‘Clothes they wear matter of concern’

Arun Joshi, a society member said, “The bouncers were hired by a member of the society ahead of the vaastu of his flat. We wanted to ensure that people who are not supposed to get inside are not present on the premises. We have asked Patel not to run a PG and the society has even passed a resolution that flats should be leased out only to families.”
Joshi said, “We have nothing against the girls but sometimes the clothes they wear while going on a walk or playing in the society is a matter of concern. Besides, they mingle with the opposite gender freely which may not be acceptable to all members.”

Karan Khiyani, another society member said, “Yogesh Patel has been threatening society members who oppose his PG facility with legal cases. He runs a PG facility without licence. He has also written to the District Registrar of Cooperative Societies to hand over the building management to a custodian to ensure he can do business smoothly. Besides, he is encouraging others to run PGs and trying to lure them with money.” 

Meanwhile, the girl students have shot off a letter to the state DGP claiming that they have been living peacefully and hold a bright future as students of Nirma University but the society members have created problems for them. They stated that the university cannot accommodate all the students due to which many of them have to find an accommodation for themselves. The letter also mentioned the incident where Ratna Society had hired bouncers to keep them out.
Father of one of the girls who lives in the PG flat said, “My daughter is studying architecture and does not have time to do anything but study. I spoke to the society members having problems but the reasons they gave me were not right. And hiring bouncers to keep the girls out of their flat is just not done.”

“This is a serious problem ailing the city. If these girls cannot live in a secure society where will they go?”