The state subject law was promulgated by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1927 mainly on the insistence of Kashmiri Pandits with the twin objective of preventing Hindus from mainland India to usurp their employment opportunities in J&K and also protect the distinct ethnic identity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It suited the Dogra Maharaja as well in as much as it debarred non-local people to acquire land & other immovable properties thus allaying his fears of being outnumbered by Indians & foreigners and protecting the demographic character of his State.
In May 1962, Indira Gandhi, while on a visit to Srinagar along with her Prime Minster Father Pandith Nehru, expressed her wish to Sadri-Riyasat , Karan Singh to acquire a plot of land in Srinagar. Singh readily offered one from his own estate of Karan Mahal adjoining Shankracharya hills, free of cost. Nehru agreed to the arrangement provided no rules or regulations had to be changed. Karan Singh was of the opinion that no law or rules were violated if Nehrus were to acquire a plot of Land & build a house in Srinagar ( selected correspondence between Indira Gandhi & Karan Singh-letter dated 25th May 1962-reproduced in “Kashmir & Beyond” by Jawaid Alam P 383).
When the issue reached Prime Minster Bhakshi, he expressed his reservation as Nehrus were not permanent residents of the State. An over zealous bureaucrat suggested to transfer the plot to a State subject Pandith relative of Nehrus still living in Kashmir , to hold it on their behalf. When the said Pandith ji was informed about the scheme he refused to be a party to indirect violation of state subject laws. In New-Delhi, wise counsels prevailed upon Nehru not to let the matter gain any publicity as it could boomerang. He accordingly advised Indira to drop the idea.
It is not that no body from J&K was willing to purchase the property. Many of the top businessmen of the State were craving for the property and made herculean efforts to acquire it but the then Chief Minster dissuaded all of them for reasons though unknown but fully imaginable . The deal with Lalit Suri had the full protection & patronage of the then chief Minster of the State & chairman of J&K Bank and the instance shows to what extent our own rulers & bureaucrats can go in demolishing our identity.
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