Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha has demanded the demolition of Jinnah House, the erstwhile residence of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and has sought the construction of a cultural centre in its place.
"I am struggling for this for the last 15 years. I have raised this issue twice in the Vidhan Sabha. Jinnah House is an enemy property. The Government of India should hand it over to the Maharashtra Government. The Maharashtra Government should establish a culture centre there which projects Maharashtra's glory," Lodha told ANI.
Lodha earlier on 25 March, 2017 raised this issue in the Legislative Assembly and said the Jinnah House is a symbol of partition and it needs to be demolished.
The BJP MLA said this after the Parliament passed the Enemy Property Act, Jinnah House became the property of the Indian government.
The historic European-style building was designed by architect Claude Batley, construction for which commenced in 1936. Located in Malabar Hill, it was Jinnah's residence before the formation of Pakistan.
The property is currently under the possession of the Ministry of External Affairs and there has been a long-standing proposal to set up a South Asian Centre for Arts and Culture within the premises.
Both the Pakistan Government and Jinnah's legal heirs have put up claims on the said property.
The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, was passed by a voice vote in the Lok Sabha on 14 March, 2017, incorporating the amendments made by the Rajya Sabha last week.
As per the Act, successors of those who had migrated to Pakistan and China during partition will have no claim over the properties left behind in India.