Leaders from two regions of Ladakh – Kargil and Leh, have put forth four agenda points for the Centre to fulfill.
TCN Staff Correspondent
SRINAGAR (JAMMU AND KASHMIR) — Three years after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government revoked the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into two Centrally ruled Union Territories (UT) – Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, resentment has grown in Ladakh.
Residents of two regions of Ladakh, the Muslim-majority Kargil and Buddhisht-majority Leh, have been protesting for the last two years against New Delhi for not addressing their demands for land, and job protection. The residents are seeking special rights and safeguards for the Union Territory.
Even though the BJP-led government constituted a high-powered committee for Ladakh to “ensure the protection of land and employment” for the people of Ladakh, the same has failed to calm down the tempers as the anger is brewing in the cold desert.
The leaders from the Buddhist-majority Leh and Muslim-majority Kargil are on the same page and have decided to launch a “massive agitation” if their demands aren’t fulfilled.
On January 7, the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) and Leh Apex Body (LAB) in a joint meeting decided to stay away from the Centre’s High Powered Committee (HPC). The leaders have been demanding Constitutional safeguards along the lines of the 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution.
They said they won’t engage with New Delhi until or unless their four agenda points include full-fledged statehood for Ladakh, Constitutional Safeguards under the 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution, early recruitment process & PSC for Ladakh and Separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil districts will be included in the meeting.
It may be noted that on January 3, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) constituted a high-powered committee headed by Minister of State Nityanand Rai to “ensure the protection of land and employment” for the people of Ladakh.
The 17-member committee that includes Ladakh Lieutenant Governor R.K. Mathur will “discuss measures to protect the region’s unique culture and language taking into consideration its geographical location and its strategic importance”, an order by MHA said.
On 5 August 2019, the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two UTs – Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. In response to the revocation of the special status, the Muslim-majority Kargil district showed resentment against the parting away from Jammu and Kashmir, while people from Ladakh celebrated the UT status.
However, over three years down the line the people of both regions feel “betrayed” and “ditched”. The locals say that the Central Government be-fooled them in the name of UT when they were expecting UT with legislature and protection of land and Job.
The region has been demanding Constitutional safeguards on the lines of the 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution
On January 7, the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) and Leh Apex Body (LAB) in a joint meeting decided to stay away from the Centre’s High Powered Committee (HPC).
The two groups were formed in the twin districts of Kargil and Leh including Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance following the region’s concerns against the central government for failing to provide constitutional, job, and land safeguards to the region after the creation of separate Union Territory in August 2019.
On Tuesday, both the apex groups protested in the Jammu region to press their demands. The protesters gathered outside the Press Club Jammu. They also announced a protest calendar which includes a rally in Delhi in the third week of February.
Tsering Dorjey Lakruk, LAB’s vice chairman told TwoCircles.net that they won’t settle less than safeguards under the sixth schedule of the Indian Constitution to the region.
“We are upset with New Delhi because our demands haven’t been fulfilled. It has been over three years since Ladakh was separated from J & K,” Lakruk said.
He further said that they are going to hold a protest march to press their demands.
Sajjad Kargali, a member of KDA told TwoCircles.net the committee formed by New Delhi is a welcome step but if they won’t include their demands in the meeting, it will not be fruitful.
“The government should include our four points agenda in the meeting,” Kargali said.
The four agenda points include full-fledged Statehood for Ladakh, Constitutional Safeguards under the 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution, early recruitment process & PSC for Ladakh and Separate Loksabha seats for Leh and Kargil districts.
Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal told a news agency that no government has formed such a panel though Ladakh has faced many challenges and agitations.
“In our political history, Ladakh faced many challenges and agitations, but no government has constituted such an inclusive and high-powered committee. So this is the high and right time for all the members of the HPC to realise its importance, discuss and deliberate the common issues of Ladakh keeping the national interests as well as the larger interest of the future of Ladakh ahead as aspired by the people,” Tsering Namgyal said in a statement.