The Assam government has issued a notification that suspends for three months the grant of no-objection certificates for the sale of land between individuals belonging to different religions.

The government said it passed the order to prevent “conflict on communal lines” ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The order was issued on March 7 by the Revenue and Disaster Management (Registration) Department. It said that the state government had received inputs from intelligence agencies on attempts to transfer land involving persons from different religious communities “by fraudulent means”.

The state government added that the grant of no-objection certificates had been “kept in abeyance” to prevent vested interests from creating conflicts.

The notification added: “However, if District Commissioner is of the view that grant of such NOC [no objection certificate] is absolutely necessary for attending circumstances and will not lead to any breach of law and order, the same may be issued with prior concurrence of Inspector-General of Registration, Assam.”

The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1. The results will be announced on June 4. Elections in Assam will be held in three phases on April 19, April 26 and May 7.

The notification was issued a month after the state government launched the third phase of Mission Basundhara, The Hindu reported. Mission Basundhara is an Assam government initiative to update land records and make land revenue services accessible to citizens.

The initiative is based on a policy from 2019 on allocating land to landless “indigenous” people.