SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Tuesday said that the clarification of the J&K government on new land laws in Jammu and Kashmir is just a smokescreen aimed to mollify the tide which is turning against them across Jammu and Kashmir.
The government is guilty conscious and in a bid to save its face value, has come up with a clarification which is not factual, the Party General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said while rejecting the government clarification on the new land laws. “Here we have the incumbent government Spokesperson lie through his teeth and allude to the famous land to tiller reforms and the abolition of big landed estates as “regressive” and “anti-people”. By undermining the measures which had orchestrated transformation of the poor peasantry and won the unstinting support of thousands of erstwhile disenfranchised peasants and the then central government; it seems that the bureaucratic government make no bones about their hatred towards anything that emancipates people of J&K. Unfortunately the incumbent dispensation is trying to turn the clock backwards to despotic times through such measures,” he said.
Referring to the Land to Tiller measures and the subsequent abolition of big landed estates as a defining moment in Jammu and Kashmir’s post-Indian independence history, Sagar said, “Sher e Kashmir through these revolutionary laws ensured freedom of the disenfranchised peasants and the poor from the shackles of landlords and gave them ownership rights on the land they tilled thereby changing the complexion of J&K and its people forever,” he said.
He said the historical image of the emaciated local farmer in rugs, with sunken faces and listless eyes, toiling to fill the granaries of landlords changed overnight into one of a landowner who expected to benefit from the labor he had put in for generations as an outcome of the reforms that had universal acceptance and applicability. “It was not aimed to benefit a single community. The measures were inclusive; it benefited the people notwithstanding their religious affiliations across Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh helping them to become peasant-proprietors of millions of acres. The kind of socio-economic transformation J&K witnessed would not have been possible without such measures in place,” he said.
He said the changes to the local revolutionary land laws represent the operational aspect of the measures taken in August last year and that It was bound to happen. “Prima facie, the changes enunciated in the order seem to correspond to the larger objectives being plotted with respect to the demographics of J&K,” he added.
He said the apathetic situation of the farmers elsewhere in the country is not hidden from anybody, but here in J&K , the farm suicides, which are widespread elsewhere in the country are not heard of in J&K. “Even the country’s first PM Nehru had praised the then J&K government for the revolutionary reforms,” he said.
He said that J&K’s own laws were a consequence of the legislatives measures enacted from time to time by duly elected legislative assembly and had democratic bearings. “Whatever laws the government is supplanting on people are a consequence of measures taken on 5th of August 2019, the measures in itself are facing judicial scrutiny, therefore the government should have ideally waited for the validation of the measures of 5th August by the constitutional bench and refrain from enacting, and amending local laws. Today we see it being undone by a motley group of officers, who sans democratic bearings. The measures are dictatorial and have not fared well in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. People of J&K and Ladakh have outrightly rejected the measures which they deem hostile to the vital interests of the coming generations,” he said.