01:15 GMT02 December 2020
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    Earlier this week, the Indian government announced several changes to laws in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, using powers granted to the federal government under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019.

    A year after abrogating the special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the government of India has enacted new land laws that allow any Indian citizen to buy land in the union territory.

    Previously, the purchase of land in Kashmir was exclusively meant for permanent residents and residents with domicile certificates.

    The move by the Indian government has received huge criticism and objections from political parties and members of civil society alike.

    Omar Abdullah, the former state chief of Kashmir said that many states have their own land laws which prohibit outsiders from buying land there.

    "There are many states where no Indian can go and buy land even today. Then why is it us (Kashmiris) who become anti-national when we talk about laws?", he said, adding that all of the political parties in the union territory have come together to protect their land and identity.

    Sputnik takes a look at the states where outsiders still can't buy land in India:

    Himachal Pradesh

    The state in the northern part of the country has restrictions on purchasing land by outsiders. Only bona fide residents of the state, those who have resided there for 20 years or more, can purchase land in rural or urban areas.

    Most of the land in the state outside the designated municipal areas is considered agricultural land and even bona fide residents can't purchase it unless they are farmers.

    An outsider, however, can apply to the government to purchase non-agricultural land for which the cabinet can grant approval.

    Sikkim

    Article 371F of the Indian Constitution permitted Sikkim, which integrated with India in 1975, to retain laws on the purchase and sale of land and property to outsiders that existed prior to its becoming a part of India.

    Only residents of the state are allowed to buy property excluding some designated municipal areas. Meanwhile, in tribal areas only tribal communities can purchase land.

    Certain exceptions have now been made for outsiders to buy land in the state to set up industrial units.

    Nagaland

    Article 371 of the Indian Constitution recognises the rights of people in Nagaland in terms of the ownership and transfer of land and its resources. Any change to land laws, apart from those by the federal government, needs to be approved by the Nagaland State Assembly as well.

    The state government has created laws limiting the purchase of land to Nagaland's "indigenous inhabitants".

    Sixth Schedule Regions in Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, and Mizoram

    Article 244(2) of the Indian Constitution also declares that the provision of Sixth Schedule, which safeguards the rights of the tribal population, shall apply to the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. This decrees the formation of autonomous districts for the administration of tribal areas in the said states.

    The authorities in the autonomous districts decide on the buying and selling of land and have imposed restrictions on outsiders. Areas like the North Cachar Hills District and Karbi Anglong District in Assam are under those tribal areas considered autonomous districts and where the Sixth Schedule applies with regard to the ownership and transfer of land.

    Mizoram also has rights under Article 371G to restrict the ownership and transfer of land in non-tribal areas. The latter are at the discretion of the Mizoram Legislative Assembly.

    Tribal Land in Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh

    All of these states also have their own legislation prohibiting the sale of tribal land to non-tribal individuals, whether outsiders or residents of the said states.

    Arunachal Pradesh

    The centre and state government have not interfered with the customary rules prevalent in Arunachal Pradesh regarding the ownership and transfer of land. According to these rules, no individual had ownership rights over any land, but since the Arunachal Pradesh Land Settlement and Records Amendment Bill 2018 was passed by the assembly, indigenous tribal people are now being conferred with ownership rights with regard to land.

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    Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Omar Abdullah, laws, Jammu and Kashmir, restrictions, purchase, land, constitution, government, India
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