‘Movement of nomads rearing Pashmina goats in the region has come to a standstill’
‘These grazing lands are the lifeline of the villages’
The Chinese army has entered into territory claimed by India and has not yet retreated says Executive Councillor of Chushul constituency of Ladakh where top military commanders of two armies met in an attempt to solve the dispute.
In an interview with Journalist Bilal Bhat of News Channel ETV Bharat, Konchok Stanzin, Executive Councillor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council expressed his concern about the winter grazing lands of the Line of Actual Control at the finger four of Pangong and Galvan valley of Ladakh.
The conflict in the region started in the month of May and both the countries have beefed up their armies on the LAC.
The nomadic movement in the region has not only gone thin but has come to a standstill. Stazin said that the latest conflict has not yet effected the routine work in the villages on the LAC be it construction work or the agricultural activity but he showed his uneasiness regarding the grazing lands.
“These grazing lands are the lifeline for the residents of the border villages,” he said. Most of the villagers are nomads in the region rearing Pashmina goats.
“Around seven villages which are on the Line of Actual Control have become a buffer zone” said Stanzin. He said that the main source of livelihood for the nomads is their livestock and the pashmina. They take their cattle to the grazing lands in winters which have become contentious for the last more than a fortnight, he said.
Stanzin told ETV Bharat that the army patrol in the region was a routine matter and sometime CASO’s (Cordon and Search Operations) would last for an hour or so but the cordon which was laid in the villages last month turn out to be the longest CASO for the villagers. Heavy patrolling and intense CASO has created fear among the people in the region, he said
There is hardly any civilian movement in Galvan valley or the finger four area after the build up as the entire region is cut off, he told ETV Bharat.
“The claim over the grazing pastures on the LAC keep changing. Sometimes India claims over them and sometimes it is the China which claims over the grazing lands,” Stanzin said adding, “unless there is a clear demarcation between the two countries the conflict can never be solved.”
Sometimes Chinese army enter into grazing pastures disguising as nomads and claim over the territory, Stanzin said.
“India should allow its nomads freely into grazing area so that we can have a negotiation plank. Their free movement in the pastures will help India get information on the Chinese movement,” he said
Whatever is happening on the LAC is happening away from villages and mainly seven villages with a population of 1100, according to Stanzin, are directly effected by the present conflict.
If the conflict remains unresolved till winter it will have huge impact on the lives of residents of the border which Ladakh shares with China, Stanzin said.
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