Several organisations of Kashmiri Pandits on Thursday welcomed the new land laws in Jammu and Kashmir and said that ownership rights extended to the entire country is a welcome step towards the “one nation, one law and one rule” setup. 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. Prominent Kashmiri Pandit organisations Roots in Kashmir (RIK), Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch (JKVM) and Youth for Panun Kashmir (Y4PK), All Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC) and Kashmiri Pandits Organizations Alliance (KPOA) jointly welcomed the Centre’s decision to allow people from other states to purchase land in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We welcome the land act notification issued by the government of India. This notification, any Indian can purchase land in J-K from today onwards. This step is in the right direction towards complete integration of J-K with the rest of the country,” KPOA spokesperson D K Ganjoo said. While welcoming the move, we wish to remind the government of India that Kashmiri Pandits are the original inhabitants of the valley and their return and rehabilitation should be the first priority of the government, he said.
APMCC chairman Vinood Pandit welcomed the decision and said that this is the “biggest step” of integration of Kashmir with the rest of India through “one land and one nation” decision. Dilip Mattoo, president of JKVM, said the Kashmiri Pandit community has always kept the rights of Indians above any community or regional aspirations. “We have chosen exodus but no compromise on the unity and integrity of the nation,” he said.
Rahul Mahanoori, spokesperson of RIK, said, “It was unfair till now that protectors and martyrs had no right on the land they were ready to sacrifice their lives for.” Netri Bhat, a community activist, said that ownership rights extended to the entire country is a welcome step towards the “one nation, one law and one rule”.
“This will also bring in much-needed investment and generate employment that will benefit the residents of the state,” she added. Vithal Chowdhary, organising secretary for Y4PK, said that the best way to counter Islamic Jihad in Kashmir is by giving every Indian the right to settle in Jammu and Kashmir and provide them all possible support to do so.