The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an amalgam of around six parties in Jammu and Kashmir, on Tuesday disputed the defence of the administration on the newly introduced land laws and described it as “a bundle of lies” and “an attempt to change demography”.
“The PAGD rejects the statement of the official spokesman [of November 2] as a bizarre attempt to distort facts, weave lies and mislead people”, a spokesman of the Gupkar alliance said in a statement.
Disputing the remarks made by government spokesman Rohit Kansal that the previous laws were “archaic and regressive”, the alliance spokesman said the land laws regime of Jammu and Kashmir was “most progressive, pro-people and pro-former in the entire Indian subcontinent”.
Alleged real object
“The real object to repeal the basic land laws and to make 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”. The previous laws ended the exploitative practice of “absentee landlordism”, he stated.
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“Whosoever calls it archaic would be guilty of ignorance of the history of J&K. It is because of the timely land reforms that there are no starvation deaths in J&K and no farmer suicides”, he asserted.
Describing the new laws as undemocratic, unconstitutional and backward looking, he said, “The recently introduced land laws ‘now allows’ the land to be transferred to non-state subjects, denuding the residents of J&K of their most precious rights”.
The claimed protection of rights in agricultural land was a mere eyewash as the Act provided for permission to sell agricultural land almost at mere asking without difficulty, he observed.
“The changes in the Development Act and the creation of “security zones” is 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. It is bound to put ecosystems at peril in fragile environmental areas like Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg already under pressure beyond their carrying capacity”, the spokesman noted.
The PAGD includes the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party, the CPI(M) and the Congress.