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Striking The Hammer On Enemy Property

Enemy Property India

The Narendra Modi government has always acted decisively on issues related to national security and countering the enemy interests within India. The latest example turned up recently, demonstrating once again the decisive nature of the strong central government.

Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has started the process of monetising over 9,400 enemy properties across the country. It has issued guidelines, and directed the office of the custodian to submit a list of all such movable and immovable assets within three months.

Further, the Ministry has also constituted district level valuation committees to be headed by the district magistrate, and an inter-ministerial disposal committee, headed by an additional secretary, so that the process could be completed in a time-bound manner.

As per the Home Ministry sources quoted in the media, the maximum number of enemy properties identified are in Uttar Pradesh (4,991), followed by West Bengal (2,735) and Delhi (487).

Action, Not Mere Words

The BJP government has always been committed to addressing such issues related to national security. It had amended the Enemy Property Act in 2017 and the Enemy Property Rules in 2018. Under these amendments, heirs of those who migrated to Pakistan and China during partition and afterwards now have no claim over the properties left behind in India. The Amendment had seen opposition from Congress, JD-U, CPI and Samajwadi Party, who claimed the proposed changes would result in punishing lakhs of Indian citizens and have no effect on any ‘Enemy Government’.

Contrast this with the case of the Raja of Mahmudabad, Mohammad Amir Mohammad Khan, whose father became a citizen of Pakistan in 1947. Khan had moved back to India in 1974, and subsequently filed claims to properties in Mahmudabad, Lucknow and Mumbai, and were also awarded the same by the Bombay High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court of India after a poor defense presented by the Congress led UPA government. Interestingly, Khan has been two times Member of Legislative Assembly for the Congress party in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Another prominent personality who may lose properties as a result is the film actor and Nawab of Pataudi Saif Ali Khan. Sajida Sultan, Saif Ali Khan’s grandmother and Nawab Hamidullah Khan had sold Hamidullah Khan’s ancestral properties many a times. However, there has been an ongoing court case, whereby Saif’s family has been claiming custody of the property in Bhopal, since the original declared heir to the property and sister to Sajida Sultan, Abida Sultan had moved to Pakistan in 1950 while the rest of the family stayed back.