The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill has hit fresh hurdles, as disagreements persisted between the government, a group of mainly Muslim MPs and the principal Opposition, BJP. A “core group” of ministers will now decide its fate.
Minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid met Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday and discussed the hostile positions of the BJP and Muslim MPs on the Bill.
“It’s my responsibility to keep him informed about the developments. The government’s core group will have to now decide on what should be done,” he said.
Khurshid, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah and 42 lawmakers, had held talks with Chidambaram for changes in the Bill, meant to ratify an earlier Ordinance.
The Ordinance had sought to take away the “jurisdiction of courts” to decide disputes over “enemy property”, mainly denoting assets left behind by those who had migrated to Pakistan, thereby making the government the sole arbitrator of such assets.
The government later agreed to ensure safeguards for Indian inheritors, but Muslim MPs say this will need them to prove citizenship and is “offending”.
The BJP is opposed to any changes.
A group of Muslim MPs said they wouldn’t budge. “Not acceptable,” said MP Mohd. Adeeb.
Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, said: “We will hold another round of discussions with Chidambaram. We will meet the PM again.”