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BJP to support Enemy Property Bill if Ordinance made into Act

Last Updated: Friday, August 27, 2010 - 23:21

New Delhi: Government`s efforts to take BJP
onboard on the controversial Enemy Property (Amendment and
Validation) Bill did not bear fruit with the principal
opposition making it clear it would support the legislation
only if the Ordinance on the issue was made into an Act.

Home Minister P Chidambaram today met Leader of Opposition
in Lok Sabha to discuss the enemy property legislation but the
latter is understood to have made it plain that BJP would not
support it in its present form.
Chidambaram then made some changes in the draft of the
Bill which was shown to the BJP leaders and they welcomed it
but the right-wing party is still opposed to other contents of
the proposed legislation.

"Our stand is that the intention of the government has
changed from what it was when the Ordinance was brought and
what is stated in the present draft of the Bill," Leader of
Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.

BJP`s contention is that the government brought the Enemy
Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2010, to
counter the Supreme Court judgement in favour of the erstwhile
Raja of Mehmoodabad Suleiman Mian.

Its allegation is that the government, under pressure
from some ministers and for minority appeasement, was making
changes in the draft of the Bill.

"This is perhaps for the first time that a meeting of
some Muslim MPs was held in Parliament today, and in which the
Home Minister and the Parliamentary Affairs ministers took
part. This is a clear attempt to communalise a legislation," a
senior BJP MP alleged.
Interestingly, BJP leaders like Najma Heptullah and
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi are supporting the government on this

The kin of the former Raja had won the possession of his
ancestral properties, worth hundreds of crores, after a
32-year court battle in October 2005.

Earlier this month, the Lucknow district administration
formally took possession of six of his properties, as directed
by the Custodian of Enemy Properties under the Union Home

Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken moved the
Bill in the Lok Sabha and it is likely to be considered for
discussion and passing on Monday.

BJP feels the "haste" being shown by the government in
introducing the Bill today- the party wanted it to be referred
to a Standing Committee to address the differences- was to
prevent the Ordinance from lapsing as in such a scenario the
present status quo would continue.

As soon as the Ordinance came into force, it nullified
the Supreme Court judgement and all the Enemy Properties were
once again placed under the jurisdiction and control of the
Custodian and- through him- the government.

The main opposition wants adequate compensation be paid
to the tenants.

There are an estimated 2,100 enemy properties in the
country and of these around 1,400 belong to the erstwhile Raja
of Mehmoodabad alone.

Chidambaram, BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Ram Jethmalani-
all eminent lawyers too- had represented some of the tenants
of these enemy properties and lost.

Minority Affairs Minister Salman Kursheed, who is in the
forefront in demanding changes in the draft of the Bill, was
the lawyer on behalf of the kin of the erstwhile Raja.

Kursheed and Jaitley even had a discussion on the Bill
a few days ago but failed to reach a consensus.

Despite all the opposition from BJP, the Bill is likely
to get passed in the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha
as the principal opposition is isolated in opposing this
proposed legislation.


First Published: Friday, August 27, 2010 - 23:21
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