Days after withdrawing previous call, Leh Apex Body plans foot march near China border

Protest rally in Leh on February 3, 2024. [Photo: X/ Sajjad Kargili]

Leh: Days after retracting their call for a ‘border march’ due to imposed restrictions, Leh Apex Body (LAB) announced that a small group of representatives will undertake a foot march to Changthang near the China border to highlight farmers’ loss of pasture land without the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

Speaking at a press conference, climate activist Sonam Wangchuck, a LAB member, stated that the march will commence “very soon,” with specific dates pending confirmation.

LAB, in collaboration with the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), has been advocating for Ladakh’s statehood and inclusion in the Sixth Schedule for four years.

Originally scheduled for April 7, the Pashmina march was cancelled due to prohibitory orders and internet restrictions after anticipating 5,000 to 10,000 participants.

Wangchuk mentioned concerns over farmers losing land to industrial projects and Chinese encroachments. They aim to demonstrate this reality through the foot march to Changthang involving 10 to 20 leaders visiting villages to showcase the land loss.

Wangchuk expressed optimism that the administration would permit the march, citing the home minister’s statement on no Chinese land takeover.

He emphasised that if hindered again, it would contradict claims of no land loss and signal to citizens that more land has been compromised than acknowledged.

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