Seized property may be returned to Hindus

Nov. 29, 2011 at 1:16 AM
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DHAKA, Bangladesh, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Property seized from Hindus when Bangladesh was part of Pakistan would be returned to the minority community under a bill approved by parliament.

The Vested Properties Return (Amendment) Bill 2011 would allow Hindus in Bangladesh to reclaim property seized during the 1960s when Bangladesh was East Pakistan. Bangladesh became an independent country in 1971.

Under the controversial bill, previously known as the Enemy Property Act, property belonging to Hindus was confiscated, the BBC reported. Hindus have said even after the 1971 independence of Bangladesh, the law was being used to discriminate against them, the BBC reported.

In the 2008 election, the ruling Awami League promised the confiscated properties would be returned, the report said.

"There are some good provisions but it doesn't go far enough to address our demand that all the properties seized or taken over until recently should be returned to their rightful owners," Supreme Court lawyer Subrata Chowdhury told the BBC.

However, experts told the BBC it would not be possible to return all of the land as some was taken more than 40 years ago.

Under the bill, the government would publish a list of seized properties to allow their Hindu owners to make a claim.

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