Tension prevailed in Mannady area in Chennai on Wednesday after several members of the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath (TNTJ) protested as officers from the Deputy Custodian of Enemy Property for India (CEPI) from Mumbai came to seal their headquarters in the city. The officials apparently alleged that the headquarters was being used for purposes other than what is declared. The TNTJ is an Islamic organisation based out of Tamil Nadu.
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 (the land disposed by people who moved to Pakistan after Independence) worth Rs 1 lakh crore, said the report. In 2017, the Union government passed Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill which later became a law with the nod of the President. As per the amendment, the legal heirs were denied right over enemy property. Following the amendment, Indian government also set up two committees headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to dispose of the enemy properties.
Talking about the seizure, Vice President of TNTJ, Abdul Rahman said, â€śThe office of Thowheed Jamaath is located on enemy property and when the Union government decided to dispose of the enemy property, we started paying a rent to the government. We also thought that once a notification for sale is released, we can purchase the land.â€ť
â€śHowever, on Wednesday, without any notification, many policemen were deployed near the office and we were made to leave. The Union government decided to seize the property without any notification and this is not acceptable,â€ť he alleged.
The Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath party says it pays Rs 4 lakh rent every year to the Union government and says that they are ready to purchase the property if the government puts it up for sale.
â€śIf the government plans to sell this land, they should give us preference. We are ready to purchase the land,â€ť Rahman said.
He however alleged that there were political motives behind the move. â€ťThis 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.â€ť
Soon after the seizure, leader of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) MH Jawahirullah took to social media and said, â€śThe head office of Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath in Chennai has been seized without any notice. I strongly condemn the move.â€ť
The IUML too has condemned the CEPIâ€™s action.