Land laws|Govt trying to turn clock back to despotic times: NC

National Conference on Tuesday said the clarification of the government on new land laws in J&K was just a smoke screen aimed to mollify the tide which was turning against it across the Union territory.

In a statement, the party General Secretary, Ali Muhammad Sagar said the government was guilty conscious, and in a bid to save its face, has come up with a clarification which was not factual.

While rejecting the clarification, Sagar said: “We have the incumbent government spokesperson lie through his teeth and allude to the famous land to tiller reforms and abolition of big landed estates as regressive and anti-people. By undermining the measures which had led to transformation of the poor peasantry and won the unstinting support of thousands of erstwhile disenfranchised peasants and the then central government. It seems the bureaucratic government is making no bones about their hatred towards anything that emancipates people of J&K,” said Sagar.

He said unfortunately the incumbent dispensation was trying to turn the clock back to the “despotic times” through such measures.

Referring to the “Land to Tiller” measures and the subsequent abolition of big landed estates as a defining moment in Jammu and Kashmir history, Sagar said, “Sher-e-Kashmir through these revolutionary laws ensured freedom of the disenfranchised peasants and the poor from 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 the historical image of the 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 said.