The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration has hit out at government on the recently notified new land laws, saying they were anti-people, undemocratic, unconstitutional and regressive with an aim to disempower people and change the demography.

“The Alliance rejects the statement of official spokesman on October 26 MHA Order as bizarre attempt to, distort facts, weave lies and mislead people,” the statement read.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday had asserted that “over 90 percent of the land” cannot be sold to outsiders as it is agricultural.

“The new land laws will not only afford protection to over 90 percent of the land in Jammu and Kashmir from being alienated to outsiders but will also help revamp the agriculture sector foster, rapid industrialization, aid economic growth and create jobs in the state,” Principal Secretary, Information and government spokesman, Rohit Kansal had said at a press conference in Jammu.

Defending the pre-August 2019 laws, the Alliance said Jammu and Kashmir was most progressive, pro people and pro farmer in the entire Indian subcontinent.

The statement adds that the real objective of 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 was first in the country to implement the concept of “land to tiller” by enacting Big Landed Estates Abolition Act 1952 followed by Agrarian Reforms Act 1976 restricting the land holding to 12.5 acres and ending the exploitative practice of “ absentee landlordism” and 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 there are no starvation deaths occur in Jammu and Kashmir, no farmers suicides have been ever reported from Jammu and Kashmir and everyone has available three fundamental necessities- food, clothing and shelter, the statement said, adding that position is now sought to be reversed by making massive assault on the land law regime.”

The statement asks as to 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 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 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 abolition of Big Landed Estates Abolition Act 1952 and amendments in Agrarian Reforms Act 1976 is against farmers and to remove the ceiling on 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,and Sonamarg already under pressure beyond their carrying capacity.”