Hurriyat accuses India of putting occupied Kashmir on sale

NEW DELHI: Jammu and Kashmir Hurriyat Party and other opposition groups on Tuesday slammed India’s recent move to allow non-Kashmiris to buy land, saying New Delhi had put up Jammu and Kashmir on sale.

In a statement, Kashmir’s All Parties Hurriyat Conference headed by incarcerated Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said it has “strongly appealed to the international community to take cognizance of the systemic demographic change being foisted upon Muslim majority Jammu & Kashmir, by settling outsiders here including through a new policy of sale of land and natural resources to them.”

APHC said that of Government of India wants to change the demographic character of the Muslim majority J&K and disempower its residents through such diktats. It said the measures were aimed at scuttling “the final resolution of the long-standing international political dispute of Kashmir in accordance with the will and aspirations of its people as promised by the international community, based on principles of justice and international law.”

Since August 2019, in succession one after another authoritarian laws and diktats are being implemented in the state towards this end and “to facilitate the electoral prospects of the ruling party in India as J&K has become its favorite whipping boy.”

The Indian administration was pursuing a divide and rule policy by splitting the population of J&K “on the basis of religions, regions, ethnicities and political interests to fracture political aspirations and voices,” the Hurriyat statement said.

Last week the J&K administration, headed by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, changed land use laws and allowed re-classifying agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes.

The decision triggered strong criticism from regional parties, who said the land would be used to settle non-locals.

Recently the government told parliament that only seven plots of land had been purchased in J&K following the scrapping of special status.

Allowing people from outside J&K to buy land in the UT was one of the major talking points for the BJP and the centre, but so far that doesn’t seem to be the case.

APHC said that the situation in J&K is “deeply disconcerting and highly repressive as people are the receiving end of this colonial mindset.”

It asked people not to lose hope but stay vigilant and alert “and safeguard their right over their land and resources as much as possible.”

The Indian government and its handpicked administration have held a real estate summit in Jammu (the first of its kind) to encourage people from across the country to buy land, or a second home, in Jammu and Kashmir.