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J&K Administration Issues Order to Stop Sale of Agriculture Land of Missing People

As the crackdown on properties allegedly encroaching on government land in J&K continues, the Union Territory administration has issued another order instructing tehsildars to ensure that agricultural land of missing people is not sold by family members or crop proceeds are not used by any third party.

Shivam Dwivedi
UT to conduct investigations, earmark such plots, and ensure they are not misappropriated
UT to conduct investigations, earmark such plots, and ensure they are not misappropriated

State administration has directed that these missing people be declared "presumed dead" and that no revenue documents for such land be issued. According to the order, issued by the office of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, such properties are suspected of being used to finance militancy.

According to sources, these are mostly the properties of people who went to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir during the height of the militancy and have not returned since. Some of these also belong to people who are suspected of joining militancy and have gone missing for years. According to the order, it was recently discovered during an investigation that some land patches in Tangmarg, Baramulla district, belong to people who are untraceable and do not receive any share of the crops grown on these lands.

Further investigation revealed the presence of such land patches in all tehsils of the Valley. According to a J&K government official, police informed them that such properties are being used to finance terrorism. "As a result, an order has been issued to all tehsildars in the UT to conduct investigations, earmark such plots, and ensure they are not misappropriated," the official added.

The order states that if a landholder is absent from the village for more than seven years and does not cultivate the land or take a share of the produce, he or she will be designated as "Gair Hazir/Gair Kabiz" (not present/not in occupation). "In such a case, after reasonable efforts/inquiry, the tehsildar [concerned] shall presume that he is dead and pass orders on the case accordingly," the law states. "He (tehsildar) shall also get it confirmed/approved from the District Collector concerned before making formal entry into revenue record."

"The share of such 'Gair Hazir/Gair Kabiz' individuals may be used by family members/other co-sharers" (in blood relation). They may not, however, sell, gift, or otherwise alienate the share...or create third-party interest in the property in any way. The administration has ordered that no FARD-e-INTIKHAB (revenue documents) for such lands be issued.

"Specific input from the office of Special DG, CID has been received, in which it is apprehended that such 'GairHazir/GairKabiz' properties are used for financing militancy," the order says, instructing tehsildars to make the necessary entries. There are specific instances of misappropriation..." The order specifies that this does not apply to migrant-owned property. According to sources, this was done to ensure that the properties of persecuted minorities who had to flee the Valley due to fear were not harmed.

 

The ongoing anti-encroachment drive in J&K has sparked political outrage, with leaders from parties such as the NC and PDP branding the operation anti-poor, unjust, and aimed at a specific community. The J&K government has denied the allegations, claiming that the drive had no impact on the poor.

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