Images of India : The New ‘Enemies of India’…

butler-palaceThe government has promulgated an ordinance to wrest control of properties – believed to be worth billions of dollars – of individuals who opted for Pakistani citizenship even if they have legal heirs who are Indian citizens. The new law being adopted labels thousands of Muslims as “enemies” of the state. These Muslims are owners of ancestral properties that once belonged to people who migrated to Pakistan. Nearly 70 years after the Partition in 1947, all assets once owned by people who migrated to Pakistan may be acquired by the government, a possibility that may uproot thousands of Indian Muslims from homes their families have held for generations. All houses, palaces and land left by Muslims who migrated to Pakistan in 1947 or later will be seized even if their descendants are Indian citizens. The government changed the definition of “enemy”, the definition shall include the legal heir and successor of an enemy, whether a citizen of India or a citizen of a country which is not an enemy, and also include the succeeding firm of an enemy firm in the definition of “enemy firm” irrespective of the nationality of its members or partners. The government first introduced the term “enemy property” during the war with China in 1962 when properties held by Chinese nationals in India were seized to ensure that proceeds from such assets were not used against India. When the war with Pakistan broke out in 1965, the concept was extended to Pakistan.