Barely half a day since the scrapping of Article 370 that accorded the former state of Jammu and Kashmir "special status" by the Bharatiya Janata Party government, fake land and property sale messages offering buyers land in J&K started to circulate.
A particular text message that went viral offered land in Srinagar's Lal Chowk for 11.5 lakh INR. "Book your land at Kashmir Laal Chowk Rd from 11.25 lakh starting with GST. KASHMIR 370 removed. Limited stock! For more details call on 9019292918."
Yeah Kashmir Laaal Chowk is a great place to live - no phones, no internet, cut off from reality you can do your yoga under the shadow of guns. Book land now. https://t.co/PksC6UO3wz— Onaiza Drabu (@onaizad) August 5, 2019
Many people reported on Twitter that they had received the text message on their phone soon after Home Minister Amit Shah announced the revoking of Article 370, that prevented "outsiders" or non-Kashmiris from buying land or property in J&K or settle down there. The provision was ensured under Article 35A, adopted in the former state to ensure protection of the local population demographic of J&K, which stands repealed along with Section 370.
However, as a report in HuffPost found, the text message was not genuine. The number listed with the message belonged to a West-Bengal based restate company called Eden Realty that has worked on several projects in Bengal, including ones commissioner by the state government.
Upon inquiry, the organisation revealed that no such message for property sale in J&K was sent out by them. HuffPost quoted a company spokesperson as saying that the message was obviously fake as it was impossible to provide land in the location specified at the low rate being advertised.
This is not the only message that has been circulating.
Messages like this have been all over WhatsApp. News18 tried getting in touch with the online property sale platform and a spokesperson from the organisation denied that they had circulated such messages.
"Of course anyone can't buy property in J&K yet," she said. "As of now, only J&K residents can buy property there".
Though the government announced its decision to repeal Section 370, it has not yet come into effect. The resolution is yet to be ratified by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and until then its provisions do not come into effect.