April 21, 2021
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Peoples’ Alliance Takes On Govt Defence Of Fresh Land Laws

Calls fresh land laws undemocratic, unconstitutional, and backward-looking

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Peoples’ Alliance Takes On Govt Defence Of Fresh Land Laws
Naseer Ganai/ Outlook
Peoples’ Alliance Takes On Govt Defence Of Fresh Land Laws

People’s Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration, an amalgam of mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir, today described the official spokesman’s defence of new land laws in J&K as a bundle of laws and called him ignorant of Jammu and Kashmir’s history.

In a statement issued here, the Alliance said, the fresh laws introduced through amendments are not only against the people of Jammu and Kashmir but undemocratic, unconstitutional and backward-looking with the only aim to disempower people and change the demography.

The Alliance rejected the statement of the official spokesman on the home ministry's October 27 order on land laws and termed his defence as a “bizarre attempt to, distort facts, weave lies and mislead people.”

In a statement issued here, the Alliance has termed the land laws regime of Jammu and Kashmir as the most progressive, pro-people, and pro-former in the entire Indian subcontinent.

“The real object of the repeal of the basic land laws and massive amendments to the other laws is to push in and implement the agenda of effecting demographic change and disempowering the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

“Jammu and Kashmir were first in the country to implement the concept of 'land to the tiller' by enacting Big Landed Estates Abolition Act 1952 followed by the Agrarian Reforms Act 1976, restricting the landholding to 12.5 acres and ending the exploitative practice of” absentee landlordism”.

“Whosoever calls it archaic would be guilty of ignorance of the history of Jammu and Kashmir. It is because of the timely land reforms that no starvation deaths occur in Jammu and Kashmir, no farmers suicides have been ever reported from Jammu and Kashmir and everyone in Jammu and Kashmir has available three fundamental necessities- food, clothing, and shelter, the position that is now sought to be reversed by making a massive assault on the land law regime,” the Alliance statement reads.

The statement asks how can Alienation of Land Act be termed as archaic when it prohibited transfer of land to a non-State Subject, thus protecting the interests of Permanent Residents of Jammu and Kashmir and at the same time made a provision for transfer of land by the mortgage to organisations like Industrial Development Bank of India, Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India to keep pace with industrial development.”

“The repeal of the Act now allows the land to be transferred to non-state Subjects, denuding the residents of Jammu and Kashmir of their most precious rights. The claimed protection of rights in agricultural land, it is stated, is a mere eyewash as the amendment introduced in Land Revenue Act provides for permission to sell the agricultural land almost at mere asking without difficulty.”

The Alliance said “the abolition of Big Landed Estates Abolition Act 1952 and amendments in Agrarian Reforms Act 1976 is against farmers and to remove the ceiling on the acquisition.”
“The changes in Development Act and creation of security zones' to avoid adherence to the rules and regulations as regards construction activities in such zones and exclusion of oversight by expert bodies, environmental activists and civil society groups is bound to put at peril ecosystem in fragile environmental areas like Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg already under pressure beyond their carrying capacity.”

J&K government spokesman Rohit Kansal while addressing a press conference in Jammu claimed that the government has repealed the old, regressive, intrinsically contradictory, and outdated land laws with a set of modern, progressive, and people-friendly provisions.
“The new land laws will not only grant protection to over 90 per cent of the land in J&K from being alienated to outsiders but they will also help revamp the agriculture sector, bring in industrialization, aid economic growth and create jobs in J&K,” Kansal said.

Kansal, who is also the principal secretary (Information), said that the old laws served, the traditional agrarian-based economy, and a modification was required to address the region’s modern economic needs.

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