Adil Bhat: The Centre on Tuesday notified the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Re-organisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order overturning the 7 decades old land policy. This order came as shock to the people of Jammu & Kashmir as no demographic change promise was made by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, when he met the delegation lead by Syed Altaf Bukhari.
But instead of that the centre did it without even consulting any political party, civil society or any stake holder; as they did in repealing Article 370 & 35A.
Across the political spectrum, the new land policy is being rejected by all political leaders. The new developments in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are making headlines for being questioned or rejected.
This together rejection or opposition have United the political parties to come together for a new alliance; PAGD ( Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration).
As such the other Indian states are enjoying special rights under Sixth Schedule & Article 371, where this right gives them power to preserve their culture, customs, land & heritage.
To view it closely, major part of the Northeast still continues to be under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
Non-tribal people and outsiders can’t buy any land under Sixth Schedule areas and there are different state wise provisions in the Northeast.
The Sixth Schedule consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram under Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.
On the other hand, Mizoram and Nagaland (excluding Dimapur) are protected by Article 371G and 371A of the Indian Constitution and ownership rights of land are reserved for indigenous people and there are Inner Line Permit (ILP) provisions in many states of the region. The Sixth Schedule within the constitution of India allows Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) to make laws forbidding outsiders from buying tribal land.
The provisions under Articles 371A for Nagaland and Article 371G for Mizoram have given special powers to reject any new Acts of parliament unless accepted through a resolution passed by the state’s legislative assembly and protect the ownership of their land, customs and religion.
Inner Line Permit (ILP) is applicable in Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873, by which citizens from the other parts of India have to take permits to enter these states to check influx and outsiders can’t buy land in the Sixth Schedule and other tribal areas such as in the hills of Manipur. The abrogation decision disconnected Kashmir from the rest of the world for several months and is making so with low connectivity. Then what made centre to change the 7 decades old land policy without even giving any safety & reservation. What is making centre happy with this change is a question to be asked. Taking the people of J&K on board for taking any decision is what centre should do; instead of making any policy that can turn the tables here & can damage the demography of the state shall not be taken.
The Union home ministry has also notified the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, paving way for the acquisition of land in J&K by all Indian citizens. The latest order also empowers the government to declare any area in J&K as ‘strategic’ and intended for the direct operational and training requirement of the armed forces at the behest of an army officer of or above the rank of a corps commander.
This law is not only allowing Indians to buy the land in Jammu and Kashmir but on the other hand pushing back the sentiments, feelings and faith of Kashmiris on the working style of centre under the leadership of Narendra Modi.
Post 5th August decisions have been made without even setting any committee of interlocutors; who on behalf of J&K citizens would put the aspirations for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. While writing this, I as a Kashmiri feeling betrayed due to this step of government of India.