Why is Kashmir’s Mainstream Political Leadership Upset With the Newly Introduced Land Laws?

Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir are disillusioned by the state’s new land laws and have pledged to raise a voice of dissent amid the row over land laws.

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National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has gone ahead and criticised the Centre because it is not allowing political parties in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir to stage protests against the newly passed land laws in the region. Agitated and angered by the Centre’s move, he said that it seemed as if the Centre wanted the political parties in Jammu and Kashmir to quit mainstream politics. 

He also questioned why the erstwhile state is not allowed to have land laws like any other part of the country and why people from any part of the country have been allowed to possess land in Jammu and Kashmir as sanctioned by the new laws. 

He asked the Centre why Jammu and Kashmir was not allowed to have land laws like sites like Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland and several other union territories of the country where no-one is allowed to buy land. Abdullah condemned the Centre over the land laws and said that he and his party were disillusioned and unhappy with the way the Centre were denying local political parties the right to protest against these land laws. 

He said, “Why is it that it is only us who become anti-national when we talk about these laws? Why are there no media debates when similar voices( for special provisions)are raised from other states.?” 

He also added that the political leaders in the erstwhile state were fighting for preserving their identities and not necessarily for holding on to their powers. According to The Indian Express he said,

“The government of India wants to snatch from us our land and expects us to remain silent. How will we face our future generations for whom we only leave a piece of land and nothing else?” 

He also commented on the inability of the political parties to stage protests in Jammu and Kashmir and said,“Today, there was a peaceful protest against the new land laws but it was not allowed. Are we wrong in seeking our right within the Constitution and peacefully?”

It was only recently that the Ministry of Home Affairs went ahead and came up with a new set of land laws for Jammu and Kashmir. 

According to the newly passed laws, any citizen from any part of the country can come forward and buy land in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. This has sparked off several protests and people in the state have been sceptical about its consequences. 

People are fearful that the new law will lead to snatching away of their land and thus the decision had faced massive opposition in Kashmir. 

It is in this context that six major political parties in the Jammu and Kashmir region have come together against the Centre’s move. The six political parties who have decided to come together and wow against the new land laws include National Conference, Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party. These parties have come together to stage a protest against the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status according to a latest report. 

These parties issued a joint statement wherein they said that they would come together to protest against the new land laws as they see them as unconstitutional. The parties have come together under what has been called the Gupkar Declaration.

Three of the Valley’s most important leaders including former chief ministers of the erstwhile state Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti had been put under house arrest before the revocation of Article 370 on August 5. The leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah had been released after several months and Mehbooba Mufti was the last to be released. Many leaders of the PDP had been detained after the recent protests against the land laws on Thursday. The party’s president Mehbooba Mufti was also not allowed to meet her detained party colleagues. The party’s in the erstwhile state who have come together under the Gupkar Declaration have resolved to work towards protecting the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and fight against steps that they consider to be diluting it. The parties that have come together in the move are National Conference, PDP, Peoples’ Conference, Communist Party of India(Marxist), Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement and the Awami National Conference.

 

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