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Voices rise demanding statehood for Ladakh, special status under Sixth Schedule

NewsVoices rise demanding statehood for Ladakh, special status under Sixth Schedule

‘Delhi Chalo’ programme demands constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule for the people of Ladakh.


SRINAGAR: The “Delhi Chalo” programme organised by the united leadership of Ladakh has put demands before the media and political leadership, insisting for constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule for the people of Ladakh. The main architect of support base for BJP in Ladakh Thupstan Chhewang, who resigned as BJP MP, insisting for empowering for common people in Leh and Kargil, along with Sonam Wangchuk, a globally known environmentalist and “glacier man” camping in New Delhi to get support for their demands.
Thupstan Chhewang said that he was assured by Union Home Minister Amit Shah that a Sixth Schedule would be given to the entire population of Ladakh to allay their fears that their land and jobs are vulnerable to the outsiders. “After holding several meetings with the Union Home Minister, I was sure that we will get the Sixth Schedule immediately. Even Union Tribal Affairs Minister gave us written assurance that Union Territory of Ladakh having over 90% of population as Scheduled Tribe would be given the constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule. Now, it seems BJP does not want to empower the common people of Ladakh,” Thupstan Chhewang was quoted in media.
Sonam Wangchuk by his recent fast amid minus temperatures at Khardung Pass has given a new meaning and dimension to the growing peaceful protests across the Union territory of Ladakh as the people are now demanding complete statehood with constitutional safeguards to the distinct identity environment and land security to the inhabitants of Ladakh.
Sonam Wangchuk, along with Thupstan Chhewang, were the supporters of Union Territory status to Ladakh and were on the forefront for celebrations on 5 August 2019 when the BJP government carved out a Union Territory without legislature from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, downgrading J&K also into a Union Territory.
“We wanted to become a Union Territory, but we never imagined it would be without a legislature. There is no participation of people anymore in how the budget allocated to us is spent. The Autonomous Hill Council has also been weakened, and the issue of statehood is of utmost importance to the people of Ladakh,” Wangchuk was quoted in the media as saying. All the youth, students and common people have started supporting Sonam Wangchuk and the demand for statehood. A beautiful rap song has been sung and performed by Ladakhi female rapper @ladoll6994. The song is all about the burning issue of Ladakh that is the 6th schedule for Ladakh. After a few months of central rule, people of Ladakh started complaining that the bureaucrats and Lieutenant Governor were taking all the vital decisions pertaining to their future and hill councils, both in Leh and Kargil were left powerless. People in the entire Union Territory of Ladakh started consultations with the help of religious organizations and civil society and it crystallized into a united demand of four point formula mutually accepted by the Ladakh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance. After a lot of consultations people of Ladakh decided to go for peaceful protests and one of the biggest gatherings was witnessed when Sonam Wangchuk after the fast held the public meeting at the Polo Ground of Leh. On Wednesday at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, many representatives of Ladakh region, both from the Ladakh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance, with the support of Ladakhi students, held a peaceful protest for implementation of four point agenda.
The agenda is grant of statehood for Ladakh, grant of special status under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, two Lok Sabha seats one from Leh and other from Kargil, separate Public Service Commission and job security for the youth. These organizations in New Delhi said that they will intensify the agitation if the government will not accept their four demands and have urged the BJP government to do justice with the people of Ladakh. In January this year, the Union Home Ministry constituted a high-powered committee headed by Minister of State Nityanand Rai to talk to Ladakh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance; however, these two bodies have rejected the committee, urging the Centre that only their four demands should be on the table to be discussed. Sensing more protests and agitation, the central government has already removed Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh R.K. Mathur and has sent a new face in order to satisfy the people. However, LAB and KDA have attached no importance to the change of LG and Asghar Ali Karbali of KDA, while reacting to this change, said that the BJP government should change the policies and not the faces in Ladakh. He said they were waiting for Union Home Ministry to accept their genuine demands so that people of Ladakh get their democratic rights.

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