In a move to assist Kashmiri Hindus to reclaim their lost lands in the valley, the Jammu and Kashmir administration, on Tuesday, launched an online portal (http://jkmigrantrelief.nic.in). Using the portal, the Kashmiri Hindus can register complaints about distress sale, encroachment, or other grievances regarding property in the union territory.
The decision came nearly a month after the Jammu and Kashmir administration ordered the full implementation of the Immovable Property Act for the Kashmiri Pandits. Earlier in August, Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had ordered the full implementation of the Immovable Property Act for Kashmiri Pandits.
However, as per the government sources, applications filed on the portal will be addressed within a certain time period under the Public Services Guarantee Act, 2011 by the revenue authorities. The district magistrates will have to conduct surveys or field verification of properties. After the surveys, the magistrates will have to inform all registers within a period of 15 days and submit a compliance report to the divisional commissioner.
“As per government data, 44,167 families are officially registered as Kashmiri migrant families. Those who are not registered as Kashmiri migrants but have fled from the Valley are also eligible to register their complaints on the portal,” said a government official.
The official also said, “Following complaints that despite the provisions of the Act, little has been done by way of restoring rights or preventing distress sales, the government has decided to launch the portal to allow all those who migrated to lodge their complaints and these will be addressed in a time bound manner.”
Any violation of the Act will be taken cognizance of by the district magistrates with timely action for eviction, custody, and restoration of such properties, he added.
Agnishekhar, a writer, poet and a member of Panun Kashmir, a group of Kashmiri Pandits, appreciated the move to launch the portal. He said, “We have been demanding declaring the sale of all properties under distress and duress as null and void. This forceable sale of properties was also a form of genocide and it was the inability of the government that prevented it.”
Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits
The dark night of January 19, 1990, witnessed horrifying scenarios when Kashmiri Muslims gathered in mosques across the valley, shouting anti-India,and anti-Pandit slogans. Hundreds of innocent Pandits were tortured, killed, and raped. They began asking Hindus to either convert to Islam and join the separatists or leave their homes. In the aftermath of terrorism in the Valley, Kashmiri Hindus had no choice but to leave.
And by the year-end, tens of thousands of Hindus had migrated from the valley. As per the report by Jammu-Kashmir Study Centre, by March 1990, more than 90 per cent of the Hindus residing in the Valley had left their homes.
However, the government of Jammu and Kashmir had introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Migrant Immovable Property (Preservation, Protection and Restraint on Distress Sale) Act in 1997. The act was introduced to prevent the distress sale of properties belonging to migrants.
Now, with the launch of the portal, the government has made a laudable move as those who had to leave their land then, can now reclaim the same.