9 ancestral properties of Hindus restored in J&K: Centre

Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai on Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha that nine properties of Hindus have been restored by the Jammu and Kashmir administration so far.

In a written reply to a star question Rai, citing the information provided by the government of Jammu and Kashmir, said, “Regarding restoration of properties to its rightful and original owner, 9 properties have been restored, as per the information provided by the Govt of Jammu & Kashmir”.

Asked about what steps the J&K Government was taking to restore the ancestral property of Hindus who had to flee from Kashmir in the wake of terrorist violence, the Minister said that under the J&K Migrant Immovable Property (Preservation, Protection & Restraint on Distress Sales) Act, 1997, the District Magistrates of the concerned districts in Jammu & Kashmir are the legal custodians of the immovable properties of migrants, who take suo moto action on eviction proceedings in cases of encroachment. The migrants can also request the District Magistrates in such cases.

He informed that after the abrogation of Article 370, a total of 520 migrants have returned to Kashmir for taking up jobs under the Prime Minister’s Development Package-2015.

In reply to another question on whether the Government has altered the land laws of Jammu and Kashmir wherein no domicile or permanent resident certificate is required to purchase non-agricultural land in the UT, Rai informed that after August 5, 2019 all provisions of the Constitution of India have been made applicable to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which necessitated changes in existing laws in Jammu and Kashmir by Adaptation Orders so as to conform with the provisions of the Constitution of India. As per the adapted land laws of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government may, by notification in the official gazette, allow transfer of land for public purposes such as education, charitable and healthcare.

He said in his written reply that under the Jammu and Kashmir Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, 1950, the land was transferred to the tillers. The Act also prescribed a limit to right of ownership to 182 standard kanals (22.75 acres). However, this Act has been repealed and another legislation, ‘The Jammu & Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976’, for transfer of land to tillers, is in force. This Act prescribes a ceiling restriction of 100 standard kanals (12.5 acres).