Delegation From Ladakh Meets MoS Home, Presses For Statehood And Special Status

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 6/20/2023 12:44:40 PM

NEW DELHI, JUNE 19 A six-member delegation from Ladakh on Monday met Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai amid a prolonged ongoing agitation over demands such as statehood and special status under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. The meeting comes months after several socioreligious, political and youth organisations from Leh and Kargil refused to take part in a high-powered committee set by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to “ensure the protection of land and employment” for the people of Ladakh. “We discussed our demands and raised our objection to the composition of the high-powered committee,” social-political activist Sajjad Hussain, a member of the delegation, said. The delegation included former Ladakh MP Thupstan Chhewang and former MLAs Chering Dorjey and Nawang Rigzin Jora from the Leh Apex Body. Qamar Ali Akhoon and Haji Asgar Ali Karbalaie — both former MLAs — and Hussain represented the Kargil Democratic Alliance. Ali, Akhoon, Dorjey and Rigzin were members of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Dorjey, Rigzin and Akhoon were also ministers in the state government. The demands of the group included statehood, special status under the Sixth Schedule, separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil and a recruitment drive for educated local youth, among others. The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution provides for greater administrative and political autonomy to certain tribal areas. The Union Territory of Ladakh was carved out of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. Over the past two years, demonstrations have been held in both Leh and Kargil, seeking protection of the interests of the people of Ladakh. The Leh Apex Body and the Kargil Democratic Alliance, representing different social and religious groups from the two regions, joined hands in August 2021 to press for their demands. In January, the ministry constituted a high-powered committee headed by Rai to “ensure the protection of land and employment” for the people of Ladakh. The two bodies, however, rejected the committee, raising objections over its agenda and composition. In February, representatives and people from Ladakh staged a demonstration at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to press for their demands.


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