Congress stages protest in Jammu against new land laws for JK

Congress party workers protesting against new land laws in Jammu on Saturday. Photo: Mir Imran/GK

The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress staged a protest here on Saturday against the new land laws notified for the Union Territory and said the central government should not test the patience of peace-loving citizens by “snatching their land and jobs”.

Party leader and former minister Raman Bhalla led the protest after paying floral tributes to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 36th death anniversary and Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary at Indira Chowk here.

Raising slogans against the laws, Congress workers tried to march to the Civil Secretariat — the seat of the Jammu and Kashmir government — but were stopped by police personnel, who were deployed in strength to maintain law and order.

Earlier this week, the Centre cleared the decks for people from across the country to buy land in the union territory by amending several laws.

The amendments, made through a notification on Tuesday, came over a year after the Centre nullified Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution.

“The recently amended J-K land laws are anti-people, anti-poor and anti-Jammu,” Bhalla said, alleging that the changes reflected the “sheer frustration” of the BJP.

Demanding immediate revocation of the amendments, the Congress leader said the new laws are “discriminatory in nature”.

“The government should not test the patience of peace-loving citizens of Jammu and Kashmir by snatching their land and jobs,” he said, adding that the BJP had promised to safeguard the land and jobs of the people of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.

Bhalla also targeted the central government over the recent agri sector laws and said farmers are up in arms against the legislations which are against their “overall economic interests”.

Paying tributes to Indira Gandhi, the Congress leaders said, “She will always be remembered as a leader of masses with strong commitment to the upliftment of the poor and the downtrodden and devotion to the cause of the nation.”

A Congress spokesperson said the party observed Gandhi’s death anniversary as “Kisan Adhikar Diwas” (farmers’ rights day) and organised ‘satyagraha’ in all district headquarters of Jammu and Kashmir.