Ahead of JK politicians meeting with Narendra Modi in New Delhi, demand for separate legislature rises in Ladakh

File Photo of Narendra Modi and Namgyal

Ladakh: As politicians from Jammu and Kashmir are scheduled to meet GoI leaders headed by Narendra Modi in an All-Party Meet today in New Delhi, a Leh-based socio-religious and political organisations, along with BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, have demanded separate legislature for the Union Territory of Ladakh.

After the abrogation of Article 370 by GoI on August 5, 2019, the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was divided into two Union Territories- JK and Ladakh.

Addressing a press conference in Leh, the former Ladakh MP Thupstan Chhewang, a member of Apex Body, which comprises heads of most socio-religious and political organisations, said: “We had so far been demanding safeguards under 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution to address people’s apprehensions relating to land, reservation to jobs, culture, language and environment after abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A.”

“However, we have now changed our demand to a UT with legislature for Ladakh,” The Indian Express report quoted Chhewang as saying in the report.

He said a decision on this was taken by members of the Apex Body at a meeting in Thicksey on Tuesday, as it was felt that “in view of the present political situation and the kind of administration set up and the works undertaken in Ladakh after the formation of UT, the aspirations of the people cannot be met unless they get the power to make laws and decide about Ladakh’’.

“However, if the safeguards as available under 6th Schedule of the Constitution were not possible for the people of Ladakh despite their getting a UT with legislature, we will demand the Centre to have a separate Schedule for them in the Constitution,’’ Chhewang added.

Namgyal and Tashi Gyalson, chairperson of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), were also present at the press conference.

The report said that Apex Body has decided to take on board the people of Kargil as well to jointly press the demand before the Centre, Chhewang said, adding that they will soon invite representatives of LAHDC, Kargil, and heads of socio-religious and political organisations there to Leh for talks.

If a consensus emerges, there will be joint panel comprising members from both districts to take up the issue with the GoI, he said. The joint panel will be headed by Namgyal, he added.

Pointing out that they already had two meetings with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi, Chhewang said it was then decided that a committee headed by Minister of State for Home G Krishna Reddy will be formed to address the apprehensions of people of Ladakh over losing safeguards after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A.


Earlier, ssections of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological fount, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), said that they are unhappy over the talks on Jammu and Kashmir being held under the shadow regional parties sticking to their demand for the restoration of the Article 370.

This is the first such meeting after Jammu and Kashmir was stripped of its statehood and semi-autonomous status and divided into two union territories- JK and Lakdakh.

As per a report published in Hindustan Times, the timing of the meeting has raised eyebrows in the party and the Sangh. The report quoting sources aware of the matter, said that it is felt the GoI after opting for a muscular Kashmir policy seems to have climbed down from its position of not engaging with parties if they seek the restoration of Article 370. The Article gave the erstwhile state a special status and Article 35 (A) defined domicile rules.

“Abrogation of Article 370 was a long-standing demand of the Sangh and the BJP. There is a section of people who feel that by inviting PDP and other parties that have a hardline view about issues such as reimposition of Article 370 and engagement with Pakistan, the government is following the policies of the (previous) Congress government,” the report quoted a party functionary as saying.

Bifurcation of the state into two union territories and abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35 (A) tops the list of the Modi government’s achievements, the report said.

The regional parties have been critical of the decision and have been unambiguous in demanding the restoration of the status quo ante.


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