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J&K now up for sale: Omar slams Centre’s decision to allow anyone to buy land in J-K

Moments after the Centre paved way for people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to buy land in the union territory, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Tuesday slammed the government. The Centre has amended several laws, over a year after the nullification of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution.

Omar Abdullah said the amendments were “unacceptable” and added that “J&K is now 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.

Calling the newly introduced J&K Development Act, which has come into force with immediate effect, as hostile to the interests of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, he said that the amendments to the land ownership law has put J&K up for sale.

“With these new laws in place tokenism of the domicile certificate has been done away with as purchasing non-agricultural land has been made easier. These new laws are unacceptable to people of J&K, Ladakh,” he said.

He further added that the BJP remains unchallenged in the opportunistic politics and that the issuance of the amended land rules notification smacks of its cheap politics and deceit. “Interestingly the centre waited till the elections to LAHDC had concluded and the BJP had won a majority before putting Ladakh also up for sale. This is what Ladakhis got for trusting the assurances of the BJP,” Omar further said.

“The new laws are a consequence of the measures undertaken by the GOI on 5th of August without democratic bearings and much to the resentment and anger of the region’s populace. The measure reflects the wanton breach of trust of the people of J&K by a dispensation which is brewing with abhorrence for the diversity of the country and the democracy,” he also added.

Omar further stated, “The measures are also part of a larger design aimed to destroy the local, distinctive cultural identity of Kashmir thereby giving a ditch to the successive promises made by the successive central governments from time to time,” he said adding, “Such measures reveal that it is not the people’s aspirations which matters to the ruling dispensation at New Delhi, it is rather the land which they want to hold on and are interested in.”

In a gazette notification, the Centre has omitted the phrase “permanent resident of the state” from Section 17 of the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act that deals with disposal of the land in the union territory.

Before the repeal of Article 370 and Article 35-A in August 2019, non-residents could not buy any immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the fresh changes have paved the way for non-residents to buy land in the union territory.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha told reporters that the amendments did not allow the transfer of agricultural land to non-agriculturists. However, there are several exemptions in the Act which enable the transfer of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, including setting up of educational or health care facilities.

Former Advocate General Mohammad Ishaq Qadri said the amendments have opened floodgates for people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to buy lands. “Now there is no legal bar on purchase of land here by outsiders,” he said.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said, “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.”

“Yet another step thats part of GOI’s nefarious designs to disempower & disenfranchise people of J&K. From the unconstitutional scrapping of Article 370 to facilitating loot of our natural resources & finally putting land in J&K up for sale,” she added.

The order read, “In exercise of the powers conferred by section 96 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 (34 of 2019), and of all other powers enabling it in that behalf, the Central Government hereby makes the following Order in respect of the Union territory of  Jammu and Kashmir, namely:-1. This Order may be called the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020.  It shall  come into force with immediate effect.”

It also added–2. The General Clauses Act, 1897 applies for the interpretation of this Order as it applies for the interpretation of laws in force in the territory of India.

3. With immediate effect, the Acts mentioned in the Schedule to this Order shall, until repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other competent authority, have the effect, subject to the adaptations and modifications directed by the Schedule to this Order, or if it is so directed, shall stand repealed.”

4. Where this Order requires that in any specified section or other portion of an Act, certain words shall be substituted for certain other words, or certain words shall be omitted, such substitution or omission, as the case may be, shall, except where it is otherwise expressly provided, be made wherever the words referred to occur in that section or portion.

5. The provisions of this Order which adapt or modify any law so as to alter the manner in which, the authority by which or the law under or in accordance with which, any powers are exercisable, shall not render invalid any notification, order, commitment, attachment, bye-law, rule or regulation duly made or issued, or anything duly done before the 31st day of October 2019; and any such notification, order commitment, attachment, bye-law, rule, regulation or anything may be revoked, varied or undone in the like manner, to the like extent and in the like circumstances as if it had been made, issued or done after the commencement of this Order by the competent authority and in accordance with the provisions then applicable to such case.

6. The repeal or amendment of any law specified in the Schedule to this Order shall not affect—  (a) the previous operation of any law so repealed or anything duly done or suffered thereunder;  (b) any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired, accrued or incurred under any law so repealed;  (c) any penalty, forfeiture or punishment incurred in respect of any offence committed against any law so repealed; or (d) any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any such right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment as aforesaid, and any such investigation, legal proceeding or remedy may be instituted, continued or enforced, and any such penalty, forfeiture or punishment may be imposed, as if the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 or this Order had not been passed or issued.

* Subject to the provisions of sub-paragraph (1), anything done or any action taken (including any appointment or delegation made, notification, instruction or direction issued, form, bye-law or scheme framed, certificate obtained, permit or licence granted or registration effected or agreement executed) under any such law shall be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding provisions of the Central Laws now extended and applicable to the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and shall continue to be in force accordingly unless and until superseded by anything done or any action taken under the Central Laws now extended to the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

 

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