JK Congress opposes new land laws; PDP stages protest

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress on Wednesday joined the other mainstream parties in opposing the new land laws notified by the Centre for the union territory.

“The Congress party rejects the new land laws and vows to fight for the protection of people’s rights,” JKPCC president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said while addressing a public gathering in the Gurez area of Bandipora district.

He termed the new land laws as an assault on the rights of people and said the Congress party would not accept such “anti-J&K decisions” by the Centre.

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The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, an amalgam of various mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir including the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had also condemned the amendments to the land laws and pledged to fight it on all fronts.

The Centre had on Tuesday cleared the decks for people from across the country to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir by amending several laws.

In a gazette notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs made several changes to the land laws, including one that allows the use of agricultural land for setting up facilities of public purpose.

The most important amendment has been made in the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act that deals with disposal of land with the Centre omitting the phrase “permanent resident of the state” from Section 17 of the law.

Reacting to the development, the National Conference had said the latest move by the Centre has put up “Jammu and Kashmir on sale”.

NC vice president Omar Abdullah had said the newly introduced JK Development Act, which has come into force with immediate effect, was “hostile to the interests of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh”.

People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) spokesperson Sajad Lone said the order was a “huge betrayal”.

The PAGD comprises the National Conference, the PDP, CPI(M), CPI, People’s Conference, Awami National Conference and the People’s Movement.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Panthers Party (NPP) on Wednesday held separate protests in Jammu, demanding that the new land laws be repealed.

Led by party general secretary and former legislator Surinder Choudhary, PDP activists holding the tricolour as well as the party flag assembled at the PDP headquarters at Gandhi Nagar and took out a rally.

However, the protesters were stopped by the police from marching on the main road and later dispersed peacefully.

Meanwhile, the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference has called for a shutdown on October 31 in protest against the new land laws.

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