Srinagar, Dec 27: National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday said that “true intentions” of the government are brought to the fore as latter held a real estate summit in Jammu, the first of its kind, to encourage people from across India to buy land, or a second home, in Jammu and Kashmir.
“J&K’s special status was illegally revoked to dehumanise, dispossess & disempower the only Muslim majority state in India. GOIs brazen loot & sale of our resources shows that the sole motive is to annihilate our identity & change the demography,” PDP chief and former Chief Minister of erstwhile state of J&K said in a tweet.
“Once again the true intentions of the government are brought to the fore. While offering to secure the land, jobs, domicile laws & identity of the people of Ladakh, J&K is being put up for sale. People of Jammu should beware, “investors” will buy up land in Jammu long before Kashmir,” tweeted National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah.
National Conference in a statement also denounced the real estate summit, saying the proposed measures will inevitably imperil the rights of locals over their land and natural resources.
Calling the conference as yet another “despicable measure” to deprive people of Jammu and Kashmir of their rights, party Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said, “Such measures expose the sinister plans which the ruling dispensation is up to in J&K. sadly, Jammu and Kashmir has the atrocious appellation of being a highly dispossessed region of the country. The priority of the government should have been to give a sense of entitlement to people and not shear them of their exclusive land rights,” adding, “It is yet another deliberate attempt to obfuscate the history, culture, land and democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for political and ideological agendas.”
Calling the real estate summit a theater of the absurd, Imran said NC would not remain silent to this authoritarian and accelerated transformation of Jammu and Kashmir, which comes straight from “RSS’s vision and agenda”. It is also a brazen attempt of RSS-BJP to use Jammu and Kashmir for scapegoating widespread economic failures, farmer issues, and raging unemployment across the country,” he added.
Imran accused the ruling dispensation at center for putting J&K up for sale. “The main idea behind these exercises is to textually bury J&K’s particularistic or special identity, which New Delhi has promised to protect at the time of J&K’s accession. They had promised to preserve Kashmir’s identity within what is now popularly called the idea of India. This new move is yet another story in the saga of never ending injustices and of historical injustices with Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Organised jointly by the Union Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs and the J&K administration, the Jammu and Kashmir Real Estate Summit (2021) was held at Jammu today. 39 Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) were signed and 19 dealt with construction of residential homes.
Calling it a “historical transformation in J&K”, the government said it had changed laws to allow external investment in J&K – including the purchase of non-agricultural land.
Lt Governor Sinha has said a similar event will be held in Srinagar in May next year.
“Under the new J&K Development Act, the term ‘being a permanent resident of the State’ as a criteria has been omitted, paving the way for investors outside J&K to invest,” the agenda for today’s conference said.
“As a result, any citizen of India can buy non-agriculture land in J&K,” it said.
Last week the J&K administration, headed by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, changed land use laws and allowed re-classifying agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. The decision triggered strong criticism from regional parties, who said the land would be used to settle non-locals.
Recently the centre told Parliament that only seven plots of land had been purchased in J&K following the scrapping of special status. Allowing people from outside J&K to buy land in the UT was one of the major talking points for the BJP and the centre, but so far that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Opposition parties have urged the government to focus on job creation rather than investment, given J&K is facing a massive unemployment crisis.
According to a recent Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) unemployment survey, J&K’s unemployment rate is over 21 per cent. The all-India average is 7.8 per cent.
Meanwhile, just a few kilometres down the road there were protests against the summit and demands for the restoration of constitutional safeguards and statehood.
“This will not be acceptable to my party or the people of J&K. Having said that, the moot point is (to ask) what necessitated the government to omit the domicile requirement…” Altaf Bukhari, President, Apni Party, said.
“J&K is being put up for sale. They are trying to change our demography, history, identity and culture. We don’t accept any such development which changes the character of J&K. They are auctioning J&K,” Sunil Dimple, President of Mission Statehood J&K, said.