Crisis deepens in Leh, students continue protest on 2nd day

BJP national general secretary, Ram Madhav and Party J&K general secretary (org) Ashok Kaul in a meeting with party leaders at Leh on Thursday. -Excelsior/Morup Stanzin
BJP national general secretary, Ram Madhav and Party J&K general secretary (org) Ashok Kaul in a meeting with party leaders at Leh on Thursday. -Excelsior/Morup Stanzin

Chhewang accuses Madhav, Kaul of sabotaging movement

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Sept 24: Crisis in Leh has deepened further with students continuing protest on second consecutive day today against the reported statement of BJP J&K general secretary (Org), Ashok Kaul while the People’s Movement leader and former MP, Thupstan Chhewang made a fresh appeal to the people of Ladakh in general and Leh district in particular to make the poll boycott call to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh a success.
The BJP leaders including party national general secretary incharge UTs of J&K and Ladakh, Ram Madhav and party general secretary (org) J&K and Ladakh, Ashok Kaul who are camping in Leh for last two days have failed to defuse the crisis arisen after the poll boycott call of the newly formed People’s Movement of Ladakh comprising of all political parties and religious bodies of the UT.

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The students took to streets for second consecutive day in Leh today and shouted slogans in support of granting Sixth Schedule status to Ladakh and BODO Council like powers to two Autonomous Hill Development Councils of Leh and Kargil. The protestors with placards in their hands also strongly condemned the statement of Kaul and asked him to leave Leh. The Merchant Association also observed half day bandh in support of the demand.
But both Madhav and Kaul continued talks with the leaders of BJP’s Leh unit today also to ascertain their views on the prevailing situation and poll boycott issue.
Ram Madhav however parried the questions of reporters regarding the outcome of the two days talks and said they will brief the media tomorrow morning about the result of the meeting after they meet the party men this evening again.
However, the People’s Movement in Ladakh received a shot in arm today with Tsering Wangdus Councilor, Saspol, LAHDC, Leh resigning from BJP and joined the Movement.
In a letter to president Territorial BJP Ladakh and MP, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal Wangdus said he is submitting the resignation in protest against the BJP leader’s statement against Ladakh.
He said the statement has severely hurt the sentiments of people of entire Ladakh and minimized the faith of the people in the party’s attitude towards the region. Under these circumstances it is not possible for him to remain in the party for even a moment and hence he tenders his resignation from the party’s primary membership. Later Wangdus informed about his decision of quitting BJP and joining the newly formed Movement to media persons at a press conference in Leh.
Sources said the BJP has also failed to motivate its party men to contest elections to LAHDC Leh which is scheduled to go to elections on October 16 and though the filing of nomination papers has started since September 21 not a single candidate has come forward to contest the elections so far when only four days have been left for the filing of nomination papers now as the last date for the same is September 28.
Meanwhile, former MP and senior leader of People’s Movement, Ladakh Thupstan Chhewang today reiterated his appeal to people of Ladakh in general and Leh district in particular to make the poll boycott call a grand success.
Talking to media persons at Leh today he accused the BJP leaders of trying to sabotage the movement and weaken it by convincing their leaders to contest the elections. Chhewang asked the people to defeat their designs and warned that such move will lead to law and order situation in the UT.
He said the two BJP leaders including Ram Madhav and Ashok Kaul are camping in Leh for last two days and they are trying to sabotage the movement by motivating their party men to contest the elections. He appealed the people to frustrate their such designs by making the boycott call a total success. He also alleged that the two BJP leaders want that Ladakhis should fight with each other and they are trying to entice some BJP leaders in this regard so the People’s Movement appeals all people of Leh districts both Buddhists and Muslims to boycott these elections.
Chhewang said that the boycott call will continue till their demand of granting Sixth Schedule status to Ladakh region and conferring BODO Council powers to Hill Development Councils of the UT are accepted.
He said without acceptance of these demands the future of Ladakh is in danger. He also asked those leaders of Ladakh who will jump in election fray to keep the future of their next generation in mind. “We have launched this struggle for the security and safety of our coming generations and we will take it to the logical conclusion” Chhewang added.
He said that a delegation of Movement leaders also called on Lt Governor, Ladakh R K Mathur yesterday and apprised him of the demand. “We assured him that the movement will be peaceful and the all SOPs of COVID will be observed”.
The former MP however said that they informed the LG that on behest of Union Home Ministry attempts are being made to harass the people of Ladakh and such attempts be desisted as it does not augur well for the country like India which claims to be the largest democracy of world.
He also warned that this will lead to law and order problem in the region. He said that under a conspiracy secretary of Leh Press Club was arrested recently and harassed by police. Besides, some employees of UT supporting the Movement and cause of Ladakh were victimized by transferring them to far flung areas. Besides, some college teachers supporting the movement were also victimized which will not be tolerated at any cost, he added.