Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday slammed the Centre over its decision on the land law in the union territory. The PDP leader said, “Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil men hai, dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-qatil mein hai.”
The Centre has paved the way for people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to buy land in the union territory by amending several laws, over a year after the nullification of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution. In a gazette notification, the Centre on October 27 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.
Addressing the media, Mufti said, “Our people in Jammu and Srinagar were trying to take out protest against land laws but they were detained. I tried to go out I was also stopped. Nobody is allowed to talk here. These people want to take our resources. These people are communal.”
She added, “They aren’t able to give employment to poor and instead are giving false assurances to people of the country that they can buy land here. Like they have taken land from farmers that is how they want to take our lands in J&K and give it to corporates. We can’t sit silently on everything.”
Training her guns at the Centre over the bitter standoff with China, Mufti challenged the government. “If the government is so powerful go take away the land back from China which it has grabbed in Ladakh. They aren’t able to take it back from them but will take our land.”
Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said, “We had thought Modi ji has been given such a big mandate he will do bigger things but it seems they haven’t come out of election mode.”
When asked what would be her next step she said, “Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil men hai, dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-qatil mein hai.”
Before the repeal of Article 370 and Article 35-A in August last year, 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 had 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 had 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 had said.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had said the amendments were “unacceptable”. “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 had tweeted.
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 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.