Roundtable titled "Fifty years of notorious enemy (vested) property act: Public sufferings"

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ALRD with nine rights based organization in the banner of Vested Property Return Act Implementation National Citizen Coordination Cell have jointly organized a roundtable titled "Fifty years of notorious enemy (vested) property act: Public sufferings" on 14 September 2015 at CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka. The roundtable chaired by the Kamal Lohani, Secretary of Orpito Sampatti Ain Protirodh Andolon (ASAPA) while women rights activist Khushi Kabir moderated it.

A keynote paper was presented by Mr. Shamsul Huda, executive director of ALRD. Advocate Suranjit Sengupta MP, honorable secretary of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Standing Committee of the National Parliament was the special guest in the table. A section of senior politicians, minority leaders, lawyers, journalists, IP leaders, professors, and rights activists were took part in the discussion.

The discussants urged for prime minister’s intervention in implementing the Vested Property Return Act-2011 for protecting rights of minorities so that the members of the smaller communities could get back their lands without harassment and stop the silent migration of members of religious minorities.

In his keynote paper, Shamsul Huda portrayed the persecution of the minority community members as they try to get their properties back that once were branded enemy properties under the enemy property act, enforced during the 17-day long Pakistan-India war in 1965.
Erstwhile Pakistan government took over the lands and properties of Hindus who left the country for India or stayed there at that time, he said, adding that the lands were never given back to them.

He said thousands of cases were now pending before the tribunal for resolution under the Vested Property Return (Amendment) Act but the disposal rate was frustrating.
Although a few people had obtained orders in their favour, the local deputy commissioners were, however, not applying the tribunal’s orders, he alleged.

He also said in his written statement that as per the law, a special tribunal has been set up at each district, except in Chittagong Hill Tracts, to try vested property cases. Around two lakh applications have been filed with the tribunals claiming ownership of vested properties.

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