Mumbai BJP chief Mangal Prabhat Lodha on Tuesday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah to reiterate his demand for the conversion of Jinnah House, the erstwhile residence of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, into South Asia Centre for Art and Cultural Centre.
Lodha represents the Malabar Hill constituency where Jinnah House is located. For the past decade, he has been demanding that the Jinnah House be demolished.
Terming it as a symbol of Partition, Lodha said that while the Indian Council for Cultural Research has in principle accepted the proposal of turning Jinnah House into a South Asia centre for art and culture, the Union government needs to ensure that work on the project is expedited.
“The Central government in 2017 had amended the Enemy Property Bill, which states that successors of those who migrated to Pakistan during Partition will have no claim over the properties left behind in India, which now belong to the Indian state. The government is now planning to auction 9,280 such properties,” Lodha said in his letter to Shah.
“There was a proposal to convert Jinnah House into South Asia Centre for Art and Culture and there is also a board that has been placed outside the structure stating this. I request you that this structure, which is the symbol of India’s tragic Partition, is acquired soon and work on turning it into a cultural centre is initiated soon,” he added.
The historic European-style building was designed by architect Claude Batley with construction commencing in 1936. It was Jinnah’s residence before the formation of Pakistan.
Both the Pakistani government and Jinnah’s legal heirs have made claims on the property.
It now stands deserted and Mumbai Police has provided security to the structure. The property is at present under the possession of the Ministry of External Affairs.