The Centre’s move to alter land acquisition laws in the year-old Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), ending the exclusive rights of permanent residents over land, could be viewed as a key step towards integrating this troubled region with the rest of the country and emphasising to the international community Kashmir’s legal status as an integral part of India. This move marks the logical conclusion of the reading down of Articles 370 and 35-A in August last year. The Centre has revoked 12 land laws and modified 26 others and, since they have been made with little reference to the people it will impact, many devils may reside in the detail. But there are some broad concerns that mark this move paving the way for non-UT residents to buy land in J&K.
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