Farmers work at a vegetable field on the outskirts of Srinagar. Tauseef Mustafa/AFP
India has amended a law in Jammu and Kashmir allowing Indian citizens to buy land in the disputed territory, said officials, sparking opposition criticism about a steady erosion of the rights of Kashmiri people.
A notification issued on Tuesday stated that the term “being permanent resident of the state” as a criteria has been “omitted,” paving the way for even non-Kashmiri Indians to purchase land in the Himalayan region.
Until last year, the region enjoyed a special status, guaranteed by the Indian constitution, which allowed it to make its own rules about permanent residency and property ownership.
Kashmir is claimed in full by India and Pakistan and both rule parts of it. The region continues to be at the heart of two of the three wars fought by India and Pakistan since independence in 1947.
India’s portion has been plagued by separatist violence since the late 1980s.
In Aug 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government scrapped the region’s autonomy. The decision to strip it of its special status and split it into two federally-administered territories sparked widespread protests in the region.
Modi’s government had earlier said that uniformity in rules and governance will bring development to the region.
The latest amendments to land rules are part of the government’s policy to apply all Indian laws that were not applicable for about seven decades, local and federal government officials said.
“Amendment to land laws is crucial part of structural changes being made in Jammu and Kashmir. The region should be governed like any other part of the country,” said a senior home ministry official on conditions of anonymity.
Opposition leaders in Kashmir have criticised the Modi government for rewriting the land laws.
“The amendments have put Jammu and Kashmir up for sale...These new laws are unacceptable to people of J&K,” said former chief minister Omar Abdullah in a tweet.
Abdullah was one among the 5,000 people detained last year ahead of scrapping of Kashmir’s autonomy last year.
Militants shot dead three young workers of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party in Kashmir late on Thursday, days after his government changed laws allowing people from the rest of the country to buy land in the disputed region.
Officials say a minibus has crashed into a gorge in Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing at least 31 people and injuring another 7. Civil administrator Angrez Singh Rana says the bus plunged off the
Amid uproar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh declared on Wednesday that there is “no question of accepting anybody’s mediation on the Kashmir issue” but Congress members walked out demanding a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The new home minister at the Centre, Amit Shah, has moved swiftly to enforce the agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its political mentor Rashtreeya Swayamsevak Sangh. Shah, who replaced Rajnath Singh at Home, has virtually become the power centre in Delhi though technically Singh remains the number two man. On Tuesday, Shah chaired a meeting attended by senior ministers like Nirmala Sitaraman and S. Jaishanker, sparking speculation that he has grabbed the number two spot.
“Prosecution decisions must be fair and impartial, and the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong must be upheld,” said Britain's foreign minister Dominic Raab.
A territorial row over the islands, which the Soviets seized at the end of World War Two, has prevented the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty. Japan calls the islands the Northern Territories and Russia calls them the Kurils.
On this UAE National Day, he noted, there is much satisfaction with the progress that has been achieved in recent years, with both our nations' development and with China-UAE bilateral relations.