LAB, KDA call joint meet on May 26, likely to announce agitation

Leh leadership to travel to Kargil

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, May 22: The Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), which came on joint platform on the issues faced by the Union Territory of Ladakh including Statehood and Sixth Schedule like status last year, are holding their joint meeting in Kargil on May 26 to chalk-out agitational programme in the absence of any call for holding negotiations by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
While a final decision will be taken in the joint meeting, there is a possibility that the agitational programme might begin from June 1, insiders told the Excelsior.
The KDA held an informal meeting in Kargil today which was attended by all prominent leaders including co-Chairman of the Alliance Qamar Ali Akhnoon, who is recovering from a surgery.
Insiders said the top leadership of Leh Apex Body will travel to Kargil on May 26 and hold talks with KDA leaders the same day.
The meeting came amid indications that the LAB and KDA could go for join agitation in support of their demands, most likely from June 1.
“We waited for the MHA invite for last eight months but there was no call. Therefore, we have been left with no option but to intensify our agitation,” the leaders of two organizations said.
Sources said both the organizations were of the view that the Central Government is not going to address their issues without agitation which is evident from the fact that they have not been even called for talks despite promise made by Union MoS Home Nityanand Rai.
The MHA which had earlier held talks with two bodies, appears to be in no mood to discuss demand for the Statehood to Ladakh but is ready for talks after they dilute the demand.
The Central Government has clearly indicated that it was averse to demand of the Statehood to Ladakh as it fulfilled decades old demand, which mainly originated in Leh district, for Union Territory status to Himalayan region on August 5, 2019, the day erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir was stripped off special status and bifurcated into two UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
The BJP has already dissociated itself from demand of the Statehood to Ladakh raised by the LAB and KDA but is fully supportive of granting Sixth Schedule like status to the Union Territory and jobs for the unemployed youth. The BJP is of the view that grant of Union Territory status was major demand of the Himalayan region which was fulfilled by the Central Government on August 5, 2019.
In addition to Statehood to Ladakh, the LAB and KDA have been demanding Sixth Schedule like status, two Parliamentary seats-one each in Leh and Kargil and job opportunities for the youth.
Charging the Central Government with adopting “delaying tactics”, sources within the LAB and KDA said Nityanand Rai during talks with them on August 29 in Leh had assured constitution of a high-level committee shortly for further dialogue but even after passage of over eight months not even the Panel has been set up so far what to say of initiating the dialogue.