Srinagar: The BJP-led Ladakh Hill Development Council on Thursday passed a resolution in Leh seeking ‘safeguards’ for Ladakhis over land, employment and other opportunities, thereby refuting the claims of the party’s integration theory.
Quoting sources, a report by The Telegraph India said that it doesn’t specify so explicitly and the resolution was ‘tantamount to seeking Ladakh exclusively for Ladakhis’.
Post the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last year, of which Ladakh was an erstwhile part, the BJP had argued the provision which reserved land and jobs for local people, was causing hindrances to the state’s ‘full integration with the rest of the country’.
Ladakhis have sought similar safeguards under Article 371, which grants special privileges to the residents of some Indian states, now with Article 370’s dilution.
“Keeping in view the aspirations of the people of Ladakh, I would like to move the resolution that the Union Territory of Ladakh be granted constitutional safeguards for land, environment, employment, business and cultural resources either under 6th schedule, or under Article 371 or domicile act under Constitution of India to protect the tribal rights of the indigenous people of Ladakh,” the resolution, said.
The resolution mentioned that Ladakh’s distinct ‘cultural aspects, strategic location and fragile ecosystem were the reasons Ladakhis’ from all sections of society were seeking “constitutional safeguards” for the protection of their land, employment, environment, business and culture.
The was moved by the deputy chairman of the council, who is from the BJP, and seconded by three other members. “It was unanimously passed with all parties supporting it,” a source said to Telegraph India.
Ladakh’s Muslims, who are in a majority, had fiercely resisted the dilution of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and subsequent division into two Union Territories, while the Buddhist minority had welcomed the decision.
But the latter has since been expressing anxieties over the identity and environment of the region. In the Hindu-majority Jammu as well, many have objected to “outsiders” being allowed to take up government jobs and buy land.
In November, Ladakhi environmentalist and Magsaysay Award winner Sonam Wangchuk had expressed his concerns about ‘the rise of a separatist movement in Ladakh’, claiming Ladakhis were beginning to compare their treatment by India to that of ‘Tibetans by China’.