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Jammu and Kashmir ‘up for sale’: Omar on new amendments to land laws

File Photo: KM/Umar Ganie

Srinagar: Reacting to the amendments made to the land laws in J&K allowing anyone to buy land in erstwhile state, former Chief Minister and vice president National Conference, Omar Abdullah Tuesday said that J&K “was up for sale.”

“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 tweeted.

In a significant development, the Government of India Monday repealed a set of land laws of the erstwhile state of J&K allowing anyone across India to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir barring agricultural land.

On Monday, the MHA passed an order called the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020.

The order comes into force with immediate effect and as per it, the General Clauses Act, 1897 “applies for the interpretation of this Order as it applies for interpretation of laws in force in the territory of India.”

Under this order, a number of amendments have been carried out in the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act to allow the buying of land by anyone as words such as domicile or PRC holders find mention.   

The “state” has been substituted by the word “Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir”.

In sub section (2) ”whole of the State” has been replaced by “whole of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir” while Section 2 “being permanent resident of the State” has been omitted altogether, meaning thereby that the land is no more exclusively meant for the permanent residents of erewhile Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked about it, Lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha, Tuesday said that there was a need for development in Jammu and Kashmir for which setting up of industries was necessary.

“Agricultural land will be protected, however we also want that like other parts of India, industries should be set in Jammu and Kashmir as well,” Sinha said in response to a question whether the Government of India had prescribed new laws enabling anyone to purchase land in Kashmir regardless of him of her being a domicile of the Union Territory.