The Centre on Tuesday said that the only two citizens from outside Jammu and Kashmir have purchased properties in the Union Territory since August 2019 when the special status given to the erstwhile state under Article 370 was abrogated.

In reply to a question, Union Minister of State of Home Affairs Nityanand Rai also said that there were no reports about citizens or government facing any problems while buying properties.

The Narendra Modi government’s removal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir had opened the door for outsiders to buy land and property, get government jobs and attend institutes of higher education. The law had earlier empowered the government of the erstwhile state to define “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir and reserve certain rights for them.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had notified new land laws for the Union Territory in October, making it possible for any Indian citizen to buy land in the region. The land in Jammu and Kashmir was earlier meant only for the permanent residents under Article 370, which was abrogated by the Centre on August 5, 2019.

The Centre had said the “permanent resident of the state” clause had been omitted. Under the notified legislation, 12 state laws were repealed and 26 others were adapted with changes or substitutes. Those completely repealed include the Jammu and Kashmir Alienation of Land Act, 1995, the Jammu and Kashmir Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, the Jammu and Kashmir Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1956, and the Jammu and Kashmir Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1962.

Opposition leaders in the state had criticised the Centre for rewriting the land laws, with Omar Abdullah claiming the government could not tolerate even one Muslim-majority state in India.

Till March this year, the home ministry had told a parliamentary panel that no person from outside Jammu and Kashmir had purchased land in the Union Territory.