'J&K Put Up For Sale': Unionist Parties Fume

Srinagar- Mainstream leaders, including two former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti on Monday hit out at the administration for opening the union territory to real estate investors, alleging that it is being done to change the demography of the region.

The comments came after the Jammu and Kashmir administration signed 39 MoUs worth Rs 18,300 crore with the country's real investors for the development of housing and commercial projects in the union territory.

"Once again the true intentions of the government are brought to the fore. While offering to secure the land, jobs, domicile laws & identity of the people of Ladakh, J&K is being put up for sale. People of Jammu should beware, 'investors' will buy up land in Jammu long before Kashmir," Abdullah wrote on Twitter.

Mehbooba tweeted, "J&K's special status was illegally revoked to dehumanise, dispossess & disempower the only Muslim majority state in India. GOIs brazen loot & sale of our resources shows that the sole motive is to annihilate our identity & change the demography."

Apni Party President Syed Altaf Bukhari said that efforts that aim at a holistic development and job creation in Jammu and Kashmir are welcome but not at the cost of domicile laws that safeguard land and employment rights of its permanent residents.

“Our Party will always welcome any efforts that will foster progress and prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir. But at the same time we are pledged to resist any plans that will do away with the exclusive rights of the people on their land and jobs,” he said.

Taking a strong exception to the controversial agenda of the Jammu summit in which the term ‘permanent resident of the State’ has been omitted from J&K Development Act, Bukhari said that the exclusion of this legal guarantee is totally unacceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Apni Party wants to make it crystal clear that we will always resist any such proceedings that are against the Domicile Law in J&K,” he said, adding that Jammu and Kashmir is in dire need of infrastructural development but the same should revolve around its peoples’ identity, demography and their special rights under law.

Bukhari said the Jammu summit seems to be a follow up to the recent attempts that were aimed at change in land use laws allowing re-classifying of agricultural land. “We want to caution the J&K government to desist from fiddling with the character and demography of Jammu and Kashmir,” he observed.

The Apni Party president said that though the development in Jammu and Kashmir is of utmost importance primarily for job creation; the government of Jammu and Kashmir should ensure that the people of this land are not used merely as a labour class to move the wheels of the country’s private sector.

“At a time when the unemployment rate of J&K is over 21 per cent as compared to the national average of 7.8 per cent, the government of India must address this burgeoning issue by creating more job opportunities rather than focusing on the sale of non agricultural land to non domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir,” he remarked.

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