Mumbai: BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha Saturday demanded that Jinnah House, the residence of Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in South Mumbai, be demolished and a cultural centre be built in its place.
Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on the budgetary demands of the Public Works Department (PWD), the MLA said, "The Jinnah residence in south Mumbai was the place from where the conspiracy of partition was hatched."
"Jinnah House is a symbol of the partition. The structure should be demolished," he said.
Lodha said after the Parliament passed the Enemy Property Act, Jinnah House was the property of the Indian government, according to PTI.
"Demolishing the property is the only option," he said.
"The PWD is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the building and lakhs of rupees is spend over this," Lodha added.
According to the legislator, after the passage of the Enemy Property Act, Jinnah's heirs cannot stake claim to the Jinnah house.
"The structure should be demolished and a cultural centre highlighting Maharashtra's culture and pride should be built. The cultural centre should also exhibit the glorious history of India," Lodha said.
The grand house built by Jinnah is located in Malabar Hill area in South Mumbai.
The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, was passed by voice vote in the Lok Sabha on March 14, incorporating the amendments made by the Rajya Sabha last week.
As per the Act, successors of those who migrated to Pakistan and China during partition will have no claim over the properties left behind in India.
Though it is for the first time someone has demanded demolition of the Jinnah House, demand to convert it into a cultural centre is not new. In 2015, Mumbai unit of the Congress had demanded setting up of a research centre and library dedicated to freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad at the historic Jinnah House, the residence of Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah before he left India after partition.
"Such a memorial would enable the nation, especially the present generation, to know about Azad's immense contribution in the field of education," a Mumbai Congress leader had said while raising the demand.
Jinnah House was built by Mohammad Ali Jinnah in 1936 at a then exorbitant price of 2 Lakh (200,000) rupees. This was after Jinnah returned to Mumbai from England.
The bungalow is located at 2, Bhausaheb Hirey Marg in the Malabar Hill area of South Mumbai close to the residence of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Jinnah lived in the house till Partition of India in 1947, after which he moved to Karachi in Pakistan.