India

Indian Government Sells Off $364 Mln Worth of Chinese and Pakistani ‘Enemy’ Properties

Uttar Pradesh, the most populous Indian state, has the highest number of “enemy properties” owned by Pakistani nationals. The highest number of Chinese “enemy” properties in India are located in the eastern states of Meghalaya, West Bengal, and Assam, according to government records.

India’s federal government has sold off “enemy” properties worth $364 million to date, the Indian Home Ministry informed the Parliament on Wednesday.

“Enemy properties” are movable and immovable assets left behind by Chinese and Pakistani citizens who fled the country in the wake of the 1947 Partition event, the 1962 India-China War, the 1965 India-Pakistan War as well as the 1971 Bangladesh War of Liberation.

One of the largest episodes of mass human displacement in human history, the partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947 resulted in the migration of nearly 20 million Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan to India and Muslims from India to Pakistan.

In response to a question from Parliamentarian K.C. Ramamurthy, junior Home Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra stated that 12,611 “enemy” properties had been identified by the government to date.

Mishra stated that the identification of the properties was an “ongoing process”. He further disclosed that the sum of $364 million was collected as proceeds from the sale of “movable properties”.

“No immovable enemy property has been sold so far,” the minister informed the Parliament in the upper house.

He said that the money collected from the sales has been deposited in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI). All the revenue collected through federal direct and indirect taxes among others is deposited in the CFI account.

India’s federal Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had in 2018 issued guidelines to local authorities across the nation to identify such properties in a bid to monetise the assets in a “time-bound manner”.

In 2017, the government also barred the heirs to these properties from laying claim to them by amending the The Enemy Property Act, 1968, and The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.

Pakistan already sold off the properties left behind by those who had migrated to India after defeat in the 1971 War.

In 2018, Prime Minister Modi’s government claimed in Parliament that it had identified 9,280 Pakistani properties and 126 Chinese properties, which had a combined value of $13 billion.

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