Chinese pitch tents in Demchok, standoff continues

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Aug 11: The Chinese have pitched tents in Demchok area of Ladakh around 300 meters inside Indian territory in July this year and standoff continued despite Brigade level meeting this week between Indian Army and Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA).
The PLA in civvies have pitched five tents inside Indian territory at Cherdong-Nerlong Nallan (CNN) area in the first week of July some 300 meters inside Indian territory in Ladakh region. However, last week Chinese removed three tents but two tents are still pitched there. Sources said that they have also brought in some goats in the area and are posing as nomads and have refused to leave the area.
The Indian Army had been insisting for the Brigade level meeting to resolve the issue with the PLA in the area and finally this week, the meeting was held. The Chinese have now agreed to remove the tents but have put a condition asking the Army to stop local administration from constructing a path in Nerlong area. However, there is no assurance from the Army on stopping the construction so the standoff continued.
In the meantime, nomads who graze their goats in CNN have been removed by the Army from the area and they are now camping in Ulong, around 50 kilmeters from their pastures. They have been protesting there for last three weeks. The area where they are camping these days is spring and autumn grazing area. They are demanding that they should be allowed to graze their flock of goats in the CNN.
Deputy Commissioner Leh, Avny Lavasa told Excelsior that nomads’ issue has been resolved and Army has been cooperative with the civil administration. She said that locals approached the district administration with the issue and they took it up with the Army who have now allowed them to proceed ahead towards the Line of Actual Control (LAC) for grazing.
“Army had some issue in the area, on which I don’t want to comment. But they have agreed to allow the nomads in the pastures now and they were supposed to move ahead today”, the Deputy Commissioner Leh said.
However, sources said that the nomads are still there and have not been yet allowed to move ahead. Army had offered them some monetary help in exchange but they declined and insisted that they be allowed to graze in their traditional pastures. In order to win the goodwill of the nomads, Army today organized lunch (bada khana) for these 7 families who were protesting against them.