Srinagar: Union Minister of State Anurag Thakur came to Leh on Thursday not only with a special message for the politicians, but also for the people and said that they will get more than what they want to preserve their distinct identity and would get complete rights on their land and jobs.
Thakur said that China is perturbed by the overall development of Ladakh, especially the border areas, and they have an evil eye on such infrastructure development in this new Union territory directly controlled by the Centre and described Ladakh as the “crown of India”.
The Ladakh region is at the threshold of a difficult decision, whether to go with Union territory status with complete control of the Centre or demand re-unification with Kashmir and save their distinct identity.
There is a division within as the people of Kargil district have said that they want to be part of Kashmir valley and are not interested in the implementation of the sixth schedule as is being demanded by most of the Buddhists of the region.
The BJP is leaving no stones unturned as the campaign for the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh polls has started.
Thakur is special emissary from the Centre to assure the entire leadership of Leh that they will get all their promises fulfilled by the Centre provided they continue to support the BJP and not resort to any agitation, especially due to the recent presence of China on the eastern Ladakh border.
It is in place to mention that the LAHDC polls are slated for 22 October, and the BJP is confident to win a majority of the seats after they were able to prevail upon the recently formed political platform to call off their agitation with the promise that their identity would be preserved as it was in the Article 370.
When the people of Ladakh started asking for safeguards to their land and jobs after the media reported that some business tycoons were going to build huge resorts by purchasing land in Ladakh, they formed a political platform to fight for special status.
Ahead of the LAHDC polls, senior political leaders, political parties, including the BJP and religious monks from the region, formed the Peoples Movement of Ladakh, demanding constitutional safeguards for locals of the region under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The Narendra Modi government is committed to providing more facilities under the Sixth Schedule to the people of Ladakh and to preserve the land, culture and unique identity of Ladakhis, Thakur told media people in Leh on Thursday.
A delegation of the People’s Movement of Ladakh headed by Thupstan Chhewang, former BJP MP, had recently met Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi and got an assurance that their special status would be safeguarded.
On 3 September, the BJP-led LAHDC Leh had passed a resolution, seeking safeguards under Article 371 of the Constitution of India or sixth schedule or domicile law, to protect the tribal rights of the indigenous people of Ladakh, as fears were running high that like Kashmir, domicile certificates would be issued to the outsiders.
Although after the abrogation of Article 370, there was a lot of joy and jubilation on the streets of Leh, after a few months, locals started worrying about how to preserve demography, land, environment and culture.
Meanwhile, the people of Kargil, along with their politicians, including the Kargil Hill Development Council, have said that they are not demanding the sixth schedule and instead want to be part of Kashmir valley while demanding restoration of Article 370.
All political parties in a joint statement from Kargil released to the press recently said, “From day one, we did not demand the bifurcation of the state. No single soul in Kargil is happy with the division.”
Former lawmaker from Kargil, Asgar Ali Karbali, told this newspaper that people of his area want to be the part of Jammu and Kashmir and claimed that people of Leh have realised the harm and disempowerment the Union Territory status has brought to the region.
Another former minister and NC leader Qamar Ali Akhoon told this reporter that people of Ladakh should ask for statehood with the legislature. He said that the people of Kargil and many people in Ladakh region are against the division of the J&K state and only the BJP is happy with the decision.
People of Kargil have real worries ranging from shifting of power from Kashmir to Leh and administrative discrimination with them at the hands of the BJP leadership of Ladakh.