Tuesday, May 28
Discussing modalities on constitutional safeguards, assures Shah as LAB, KDA says no concrete outcomes from talks

Demands of Ladakh people fail to make any headway after meeting with MHA

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New Delhi: A Sub-Committee formed to look into the demands of Ladakh’s people Monday failed to make any headway after two back-to-back meetings with central government functionaries and have decided to consult with the people of the region to devise a future course of action.

The Leh Apex Body (LAB) and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) have been demanding statehood for Ladakh, inclusion of the Union territory in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution and the setting up of an exclusive public service commission for the high-altitude region.

The sub-committee of the LAB and KDA held a meeting with officials of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the advisor of the Union Territory of Ladakh, according to a statement issued by the two organisations.

“The meeting ended without any concrete outcome,” it said. Subsequently, the sub-committee held a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence. “This meeting too didn’t result in any positive outcome,” the organisations said.

According to the statement, the organisations have decided to devise a future course of action after consultation with the people of the two districts of Ladakh – Leh and Kargil.

The sub-committee was formed following a meeting held on February 19 between the High Powered Committee (HPC) for Ladakh headed by Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai and a 14-member delegation of the LAB and the KDA, representing various organisations of the Union Territory.

Thupstan Chhewang, Chering Dorjay Lakruk and Nawang Rigzin Jora, representing the LAB, and Qamar Ali Akhoon, Asgar Ali Karbalai and Sajjad Kargili, representing the KDA, are members of the sub-committee.

Akhoon, Chhewang, Lakruk and Karbalai signed the press statement issued on Monday.

The other demands of the delegation include two Lok Sabha seats (one for Kargil and one for Leh) and job opportunities for the residents of the Union Territory, sources said earlier.
Ladakh currently has one Lok Sabha constituency.

Ladakh, which no longer has any Assembly constituency, was earlier part of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, were abrogated on August 5, 2019, and the erstwhile state was bifurcated into the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

According to the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, Jammu and Kashmir has been made a Union Territory with a Legislative Assembly and Ladakh a Union Territory without any Assembly.

There were four representatives from Ladakh in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.

The BJP-led Centre assured the delegation from Ladakh in December last year that it was committed to fast-tracking the development of the Union Territory and meeting the aspirations of the people in the region.

The assurance was given at a meeting held with the HPC for Ladakh.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has formed the HPC for Ladakh under Rai’s chairmanship with a mandate to discuss the measures needed to be taken to protect the region’s unique culture and language, taking into consideration its geographical location and strategic importance.

The HPC has also been formed for the protection of land and employment, measures for inclusive development and employment generation in the region, measures related to the empowerment of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDCs) of Leh and Kargil and the constitutional safeguards that could be provided to ensure the measures and protection as mentioned above.

Several organisations of Ladakh were demanding a separate Union Territory for the region for decades and the demand was fulfilled on August 5, 2019.

The KDA and the LAB, however, in the recent past protested at different locations, including New Delhi, Jammu and Ladakh, highlighting their key demands. (PTI)

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