A tense situation prevailed in Mannady area in Chennai on Wednesday after controversial Islamic organisation Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ) protested against officials who had come to seal the building for violating the Enemy Property Act.
According to the reports, the officers from Custodian of Enemy Property for India, Mumbai, accompanied by revenue authorities and local police, had arrived at Chennai to seal off the Thowheed Jamath headquarters, which is registered as the property of Pakistan under the Enemy Property Act 1968.
The Thowheed Jamaat, whose building is registered as the property of Pakistan, had received several notices from the state authorities for violating the Enemy Property Act. Following no action from their end, officers from Custodian of Enemy Property for India, Mumbai, accompanied by revenue authorities and local police, sealed the office on Wednesday.
Reportedly, the building was initially been granted to Abdul Rahman, the Vice President of TNTJ, for the purpose of running a lungi firm. However, Rahman has been using the building for serving as the headquarters of the TNTJ. In fact, Rahman only holds the power of attorney, since the actual property belongs to Tuba Khaleeli, who now lives in Pakistan.
After the Indo-Pak war of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, which regulates such properties and lists the custodian’s powers. Following the claims of heirs of Raja Mohammad Amir Mohammad Khan, on his properties across Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Act was amended.
Towheed Jamath members protest outside office, create public nuisance
As the news spread, the office-bearers of TNTJ assembled near the premises from different parts of the city and protested against the action. The protest continued for nearly two hours causing a severe nuisance to the public.
The Enemy Property Act of 1968 gives powers to the Custodian of Enemy Property for India to maintain custody of such property, including its rights, interest, title and any other benefits.
The country has a total of 9,400 enemy properties, that is the land left or sold by people who moved to Pakistan after Independence, which is worth Rs 1 lakh crore. In 2017, the Union government passed Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) act that denied the legal heirs their right over the enemy property.
Thowheed Jamath says they pay rent, want to buy the property
Meanwhile, Abdul Rahman, Vice President of TNTJ, said that the office of Thowheed Jamaath is located on the enemy property and when the Union government decided to dispose of the enemy property, they started paying rent to the government. He added that the radical Islamic organisation also thought of purchasing the land.
However, on Wednesday, without any notification, many policemen were deployed near the office and we were made to leave, Rahman said. The Union government decided to seize the property without any notification and this is not acceptable, he claimed.
Rahman claimed that there were political motives behind the move. “This is an act to humiliate us but we will not get angered. Even if we plan to protest, we will do it in a democratic way.” he said.