NEW DELHI: Indian government has introduced new amendments in the country’s land laws for occupied Jammu and Kashmir which would allow Indian citizens to buy land and property in the valley.
The announcement comes as Kashmiris observe October 27 as ‘Black Day’, when Indian forces took over the valley 73 years ago in 1947.
According to a notification issued by the Indian home ministry, the new law, Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020, would come into effect immediately.
Before today’s notification, only “permanent residents” of Indian occupied Kashmir could buy property in the region – a clause that now stands removed.
Since last year, after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government abrogated Article 370 of the Indian constitution — which repealed occupied Kashmir’s special status — New Delhi has made several changes in laws pertaining to the occupied territory, granting non-residents the right to get education, jobs and buy property in the region.
The new laws were condemned by Kashmiri leader Omar Abdullah. He blasted the development as “unacceptable”, saying occupied Kashmir was “now up for sale and the poorer small landholding owners will suffer”.
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
Minister of States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Shehryar Afridi, who said that the Indian government had introduced a “draconian law on Black Day, reminding how occupant forces of India keep (sic) on occupying all rights of Kashmiris”.
“Now Indians & foreigners are also allowed to purchase land in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” the minister tweeted.
Another draconian law introduced by Indian regime on Black Day – reminding how occupant forces of india keeps on occupying all rights of Kashmiris. Now Indians & foreigners are also allowed to purchase land in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
— Shehryar Afridi (@ShehryarAfridi1) October 27, 2020
In 2019, the Indian government had issued new domicile laws for occupied Kashmir, under which any person who had resided in Jammu and Kashmir for 15 years would be able to call the occupied territory his or her place of domicile.
The J&K Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act defines a domiciled person as one who has resided for a period of 15 years in the territory or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10 or 12 examinations in an educational institution located in the territory.