Raja of Mahmudabad Mohammed Amir Mohammed Khan has been watching silently from the sidelines an uproar over royal assets he inherited from his father who had left for Pakistan. Khan, however, chose to stay back.
Now, his patience is wearing thin. Changes proposed to the Enemy Property Act may well require him to prove he is an Indian citizen, despite him having served as a legislator twice and fought a Parliament election from UP, and the Supreme Court having vouched for him.
“It’s painful and scandalous,” the 65-year-old Raja of Mahmudabad said, speaking exclusively to the HT.
Like many former royals, Khan’s academic qualifications are thoroughbred. He holds a mathematics degree from the University of Cambridge and is Fellow of the prestigious London-based Royal Astronomical Society.
Yet, like many other Muslims, having to prove their patriotism always touches a raw nerve.
Nearly 40 years after India and Pakistan last went to war, the Enemy Property Act, an antiquated law, meant to seize assets belonging to Pakistani nationals in India, has come back to haunt their Indian inheritors. The raja has fought an arduous battle to reclaim property seized under this law.
Can his property be termed an enemy property? “The answer is emphatic no,” the apex court had said in a 2005 verdict. Fresh changes in the enemy property law seek to overturn this verdict by applying it retrospectively, he said.
“This most disturbing thing about all this is, who is the enemy here? Changes in the law trample on the right of an India citizen to inherit property.”
The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill will affect many poor people and their right to go to the courts, as guaranteed by the Constitution, stands violated, he said. A majority of these people are Muslims.
“Are they being punished for choosing to stay back in India even though the SC has upheld their rights as
Indian citizens?” the Raja asked.