ROQUE DIAS | NT
The state government has started making the most of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act by exploring to step up pressure on Pakistani citizens of Goan origin to obtain Indian citizenship. And tool is the properties of these ‘Karachi Goans’, which have been declared as ‘enemy properties’.
The office of the South Goa district collector has directed Salcete mamlatdar Prataprao Gaonkar to write to the Foreign Registration Office, seeking details of more Pakistani citizens of Goan origin vis-à-vis their properties in the state.
Sources in the collectorate office disclosed that a meeting was held on January 28 on the matter, and the district collector decided to identify more enemy properties in South Goa district.
Gaonkar said that he has received directions on the enemy property issue from the district collector, adding that he will soon write to the FRO seeking details.
However, some observers are of the view that the government is trying to put pressure on the Pakistani citizens of Goan origin by using the enemy property issue as a ploy so that they will obtain Indian citizenship under the contentious CAA.
Sources said that there are ten enemy properties in Salcete belonging to the Karachi Goans, whose ancestors migrated to Karachi and other adjacent districts of today’s Pakistan before the Partition of India in 1947. They became Pakistani citizens after the Partition and continued to live there.
“Their properties were declared as enemy property as per the order issued by the Union home ministry in 2010 under sections 5, and 24 of the Enemy Property Act 1968,” explained an official at the South Goa district collector office.
Of the ten enemy properties, four have been restored to original owners after the recent directives of the Bombay High Court at Goa.
The High Court order came on three different writ petitions filed by the aggrieved persons. The order came on the grounds of the principle of natural justice and fair play, and also because the applicants were not notified and that the decision was taken by the government without the knowledge of the occupant.
The court, however, granted the liberty to the respondent (Salcete mamlatdar) to take fresh steps in terms of the Enemy Property Act 1968 and the Enemy Property Rules 2015.
The enemy properties in Salcete include 1475 sq mts of land surveyed under survey number 6/3 at Chandor; 1725 sq mt of land (survey number 11/4) at Verna, 3950 sq mts of land — two properties (survey number 302/5 and 302/10); 5425 sq mts of land (survey number 257/5) and 14,977 sq mts of land in Margao near the Chowgule college.
Sources said that more details will be collected on these properties to take an appropriate step on the issue.
Those enemy properties, which have been restored to the original owners in accordance with the HC orders, include 3650 sq mts of land at Camorlim; 2500 sq mt of land at Benaulim, and 1575 sq mts of land at Utorda.
The mamlatdar said that valuation of the five properties has been done, while one enemy property in Margao is under valuation.