Ladakh delegation meets PM, Speaker, DM, MoS Home; raises major issues

Ladakh delegation in a meeting with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in New Delhi on Friday.
Ladakh delegation in a meeting with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in New Delhi on Friday.

Kargil leaders say it was BJP show, seek separate meetings
*Members laud Modi, Shah for UT status

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Dec 6: A delegation from the Union Territory of Ladakh which comprised political and religious leaders from both Leh and Kargil districts today met top political leadership of the country in New Delhi but differences between the two districts surfaced immediately as Kargil leadership described it as the BJP delegation and said they have sought separate meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on their issues.
The delegation met Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy in New Delhi.
Though an official handout issued by the office of the Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), Union Territory of Ladakh, said the delegation expressed thanks to the leaders for grant of UT status to Ladakh, sources said, they also expressed concerns over Central Government’s reluctance to grant 6th Schedule status to the people of Ladakh and protection of their land and jobs.
However, the handout didn’t mention whether the top leadership gave any assurance to them or not.
Meeting of the Ladakh delegation with the Prime Minister, the Speaker, the Defence Minister and the Minister of State for Home assumed significance as it comes just four days after the Union Home Ministry in response to a written question in the Parliament virtually ruled out 6th Schedule (Tribal Area) status to Ladakh at present, a demand which had gained momentum in both Leh and Kargil districts.
Besides the people have also sought protection of their land and jobs and want the Central Government to immediately come out with an order, sources said, adding that empowerment of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils, Leh and Kargil was another issue being projected by the people.
Though the Ladakh MP’s handout mentioned names of the leaders from Kargil who joined the delegation in meeting with the Prime Minister, the Speaker and two Ministers, top Kargil leadership rang up the Excelsior to convey that all those part of delegation from Kargil were affiliated with the BJP.
They said the Joint Action Committee (JAC) Kargil, which had spearheaded agitation in the district in support of their demands after the Union Territory status were granted to Ladakh, has written to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister seeking time for presentation of their issues separately.
An official handout issued by BJP Lok Sabha member from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgayal said a joint delegation of prominent leaders representing the various religious and ethnic groups of Leh and Kargil districts of the Union Territory of Ladakh met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Speaker Lok Saba Om Birla, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy in New Delhi.
On behalf of the people of Ladakh, the delegation expressed their heartfelt gratitude to Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and all other prominent leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party and NDA Government for abrogation of Articles 370 & 35-A and fulfilling the 71 years long pending and most genuine demand of the people of Ladakh by granting Union Territory status to the region.
The letter submitted by the delegation to all the prominent leaders in New Delhi read: “In fact the people of Ladakh will always be indebted to Modi and Shah for having restored the identity, dignity and liberty of Ladakh. We are feeling truly liberated for the first time after 1836 when Ladakh lost its independent kingdom. As we strive to build a New India under your bold and charismatic leadership we look forward with tremendous hope and enthusiasm”.
The handout said during the meeting with the top leadership of the Modi Government, Ladakh delegation discussed various issues pertaining to the UT.
The delegation comprised Thiksay Khanpo Rinpoche, former Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Ladakh, Gyal P. Wangyal, Chairman/CEC, LAHDC Leh, Phuntsok Stanzin, Executive Councilor, LAHDC Leh, Mohammad Ali Chandan, Executive Councilor, Haji Anayat Ali, former Chairman, Legislative Council, J&K, P.T. Kunzang, president, Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), Leh, Ashraf Ali (Barcha), president, Anjuman-e-Imamia Association, Leh, Lama Shadup Chamba, president, Ladakh Gonpa Association (LGA), Leh, Abdul Qayuum, president, Anjuman-Moin-Ul-Islam, Leh, Dechen Cheemga, president, Christian Association, Leh, T. Chostar, president, Zanskar Buddhist Association (ZBA), Kargil, Mosin Ali, Councilor LAHDC Kargil, Stanzin Lhakpa,  Councilor LAHDC Kargil and Dorjey Angchuk, district president, Tashi Gyalson, vice president and Nawang Samstan, general secretary of  BJP Leh.
Dispelling the rumours on not consulting the leaders of Kargil and political parties of Ladakh, Namgayal said he along with all the leaders who were present in the delegation, personally made phone calls to Feroz Khan, Chairman/CEC, LAHDC Kargil, Hassan Khan National Conference leader and former Member of Parliament, Sheikh Nazir Mehdi Mohammadi, (Chairman, Joint Action Committee, Kargil) president, Islamia School Kargil and Mohammad Ali Majaz, district president BJP from Kargil district and former Minister, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Congress leader and former Minister from Leh and invited them well on time to accompany the delegation.
However, he said, all of them couldn’t attend the meetings with top leadership of the country for their personal reasons.
Issues of the Union Territory of Ladakh surfaced when the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in response to a written question in Lok Sabha on Tuesday gave no categorical assurance on the grant of Tribal Area status to Ladakh.
“As per the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act, 1997(LAHDC Act 1997), as amended from time to time, continues to be applicable in the successor Union Territory of Ladakh. The LAHDC Act, 1997, provides for the establishment of the autonomous hill development councils in the Ladakh region. Autonomous Hill Development Councils came into existence in Leh in 1995 and in Kargil in 2003,” Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said in Parliament on Tuesday.
“The powers given to these Councils are more or less in line with the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India. After the amendment of the LAHDC Act, 1997 in 2018, these Councils are, perhaps, the most empowered Autonomous Hill Development Councils in the country,” Reddy had said.