The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday notified a new land law in Jammu & Kashmir that provides Indians from the rest of the country with the opportunity to buy land in the Union Territory. Prior to the passage of the law, Indian citizens from elsewhere were legally forbidden from purchasing laws in the erstwhile state and the subsequent Union Territory following the abrogation of Article 370.
Following the passage of the new land law, opposition parties, as expected, are up in arms against the central government. There is a visible meltdown on social media from political parties with ‘secular’ credentials. Omar Abdullah called the amendment “unacceptable” claiming that “even the token of domicile has been done away with”.
Unacceptable amendments to the land ownership laws of J&K. Even the tokenism of domicile has been done away with when purchasing non-agricultural land & transfer of agricultural land has been made easier. J&K is now up for sale & the poorer small land holding owners will suffer.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 27, 2020
Senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury describe the new land law as “highway robber” and declared, “This cannot be allowed”.
This is highway robbery.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) October 27, 2020
The loot of J&K's resources & beautiful landscape.
Having destroyed all people’s democratic structures, will the next step be forcible land acquisition to hand over to cronies & fatten the purses of the ruling party at centre?
This cannot be allowed. https://t.co/ObykyNy4Un
PDP supremo Mehbooba Mufti claimed the new land law is another step in the central government’s “nefarious designs to disempower and disenfranchise people of Jammu and Kashmir”. She further added that the passage of the emphasises the need for the people of all “three provinces of J&K” to fight unitedly. She was probably referring to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Quite clearly, Mehbooba Mufti does not appear to have come to terms with the fact that Ladakh will never be a part of Jammu and Kashmir again.
After failing on all fronts to provide roti & rozgar to people, BJP is creating such laws to whet the appetite of a gullible electorate. Such brazen measures reinforces the need of people of all three provinces of J&K to fight unitedly .— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) October 27, 2020
The Kashmir Committee of the Pakistani Parliament, too, joined in the charade to demonstrate their impotent rage. It claimed that the new land law is in violation of UN resolutions on Kashmir.
While Kashmiris were observing #BlackDayKashmir today, Indian occupied regime notifies new land laws in Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, allowing non Kashmiris purchase land in J&K. No Domicile, PRC required. This is in blatant violation of UN resolutions on Kashmir dispute pic.twitter.com/9fiQrk94gu— Kashmir Committee (@KCPak4) October 27, 2020
The meltdown was also evident in certain intellectual circles of the liberal end of the political spectrum. Devika Mittal, who claims to be an assistant professor at Delhi University, claimed that the new land law is an ‘act of invasion’ by a ‘fascist regime’.
The "Land Laws" that will allow any citizen of India to buy a piece of land in the disputed region of J&K is an act of invasion. It is an act by a fascist regime that does not believe in dialogue, democracy and human rights. #Landlaws #JammuAndKashmir #Kashmir #Article370— Devika Mittal देविका मित्तल دیوِیکا مِتّل (@devikasmittal) October 27, 2020
It is pertinent to note here that the new land law is consistent with laws in the rest of India. Until now, people of Jammu & Kashmir could buy land in other regions of India but Indians from other states did not have the right to but land in J&K. The new law carries forward the intended purpose of the abrogation of Article 370, that is, further integration of J&K with the Indian mainstream.