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Bangladesh cabinet nod to law to return Hindu property

September 10, 2009 00:58 IST

The Bangladesh cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law to return land to members of the Hindu families, which were confiscated by the erstwhile Pakistani regime when they fled the country during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

"The cabinet approved Vested Property Return (Amendment) Act 2009 to be tabled in parliament" restoring a nearly identical law enacted during the previous 1996-2001 tenure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League government, her press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told media-persons.

The proposed law is meant to redress the long-disputed law of the Pakistani era, which was widely criticised as a major violation of the minority rights. During the Pakistan regime, the law was called as Enemy Property Act.

The then Pakistani regime enacted the law to confiscate the property of the Hindu families who fled the country when the India-Pakistan war broke out in 1965. The post-independent Bangladesh government renamed it as the Vested Property Act, 1974.

Awami League had enacted the law to return the minority property at the fag end of its previous tenure setting a two-year implementation deadline. However, the subsequent Bangladesh Nationalist Party government sat on it leading to its natural death.

Anisur Rahman in Dhaka
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