‘Won’t grant statehood even if Modi asks me’: Amit Shah told Ladakh leaders, Wangchuk says

Sonam Wangchuk on hunger strike surviving only on salt and drinking water.

Leh: Ladakh’s activist Sonam Wangchuk has said that Home Minister of India Amit Shah unequivocally refused to grant Ladakh the Sixth Schedule or statehood, even if requested by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, Tribune India reported.

“Even if the Prime Minister asks me, I won’t grant Sixth Schedule or statehood to Ladakh,” the report quoted Wangchuk as saying, as he claimed that it was told by Amit Shah to Ladakh leaders.

Wangchuk made these disclosures in a video titled “KYA HUA TERA WAADA”, citing a meeting held in New Delhi on March 4 where Shah conveyed this message to Ladakh leaders.

Wangchuk expressed belief that Modi might have been inclined to fulfill BJP’s promises by granting the Sixth Schedule to Ladakh, but asserted that Shah obstructed this effort.

Additionally, Wangchuk highlighted Shah’s statement in Assam claiming that Ladakh had not lost any territory to China, which he found contradictory as Ladakhi shepherds were reportedly barred from grazing lands near the China border.

A Ministry of Home Affairs sub-committee meeting with Ladakh leaders on February 19 was deemed successful, but subsequent discussions with Amit Shah on March 4 did not yield results.

Following this meeting, Wangchuk commenced a 21-day fast, concluding it on March 26 while affirming that Ladakh residents would persist in their protests.

Sonam Wangchuk, renowned for his educational reforms and sustainable development initiatives in Ladakh, has been staging a protest at an altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level, enduring sub-zero temperatures, since March 6.

His protest aims to advocate for autonomy in Ladakh and draw attention to the ecological threats posed by industrialisation in the Himalayan region.

Wangchuk’s demands include statehood for Ladakh and the implementation of the Sixth Schedule to safeguard tribal areas. He alleges that industrial plants and Chinese encroachment are encroaching upon Ladakh’s vital pasture lands. Wangchuk also planned a Border March involving 10,000 Ladakhi shepherds and farmers to demonstrate the ground reality.

Furthermore, Wangchuk seeks separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil, increased job opportunities for locals, and the establishment of a Public Service Commission for Leh and Kargil districts.

Expressing concerns over environmental degradation caused by industrialisation, Wangchuk criticises the government of India for greenlighting a 13-gigawatt project without local consultation.

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