LAHDC Kargil passes resolution seeking Statehood for Ladakh, 6th Schedule

Kargil Hill Development Council representatives at a press conference in Kargil on Friday. -Excelsior/Basharat Ladakhi
Kargil Hill Development Council representatives at a press conference in Kargil on Friday. -Excelsior/Basharat Ladakhi

NC, Cong join hands with Independents; BJP abstains

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Nov 25: Triggering political heat in the icy-cold region, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Kargil today passed a resolution seeking Statehood for Ladakh, protection to the rights of locals under 6th Schedule of Indian Constitution and fulfillment of other demands.
The four point resolution was passed in the House and supported by all the members, except the BJP affiliated Councilors, who abstained the General Council meeting of LAHDC Kargil.
Through the resolution, the House resolved that a request be made to Government of India by the LAHDC highlighting the aspirations of the general public of Kargil for grant of Statehood to Ladakh, protection under 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution, separate Lok Sabha seats for Kargil and Leh districts and establishment of Ladakh Public Service Commission with the Ladakh Resident Certificate as a mandatory requirement for all recruitments for Gazetted posts in the Union Territory.
The resolution was moved by Er Punchok Tashi (Executive Councilor) and seconded by Syed Abass Razvi, Councilor of 05-Tai Suru Constituency. Out of total 29 Councilors , 22 of them supported the resolution while remaining seven, affiliated to BJP, abstained the proceedings. Those who abstained, included four nominated Councilors.
Through this resolution, National Conference and Congress dominated Kargil Hill Development Council has sought to exert pressure on the BJP-led Central Government, which has already rejected the demand of Statehood to Ladakh.
In the House of 30 in LAHDC Kargil, National Conference has 10 members followed by Congress having eight, BJP seven and five Independents. One Councilor, namely Mohd Qasim had passed away a few months back.
Seeking grant of Statehood for Ladakh, the resolution claimed that after the re-organisation of the State of J&K, there has been a greater resentment among the general masses of Ladakh regarding the representation of the public in the Government, which has further given rise to apprehensions among the public with regards to safeguard of land, job, culture and ecology etc.
“With federalism being a very important feature of the Indian Democracy, the general public of Ladakh has great faith in the federal representative form of Government and therefore there is need of providing full-fledged Statehood to Ladakh UT keeping in view of its strategic importance, unique culture, population, and importance & feasibility of granting of Statehood,” it explained .
Also demanding protection under the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees necessary provisions for protection of tribal areas, the resolution reminds that the Chairman of National Commission for Schedule Tribes, on 11th September 2019 during the 119th meeting of the NCST, has already recommended to the Union Home Ministry & the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry to declare Ladakh as a Tribal area under the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
“Further, in view of the revocation of the Articles 370 & 35-A of the Constitution of India, the protections provided by these Articles, regarding land, culture, jobs, and ecology is no more there and hence, it has been unanimously agreed across all strata of Ladakh that only the 6th Schedule can ensure due protection of the land, jobs, culture & ecology of Ladakh,” said the resolution.
With regard to the demand for separate Lok Sabha seats for Kargil & Leh districts, the resolution said that before the re-organisation of the erstwhile State of J&K, Ladakh had public representatives in the form of four MLAS and two MLCs in the Legislature. “However, with the re-organisation of the State, the only public representative is the sole Member of Parliament, whose election often creates rift between the peaceful Ladakhi populace as it pits the people of Kargil against the people of Leh due to the sole seat of MP,” claims the resolution adding that internal division and rift among the local populace of this strategic location may prove detrimental to the national security and therefore the Government of India is requested for granting two separate seats of Lok Sabha for Ladakh region, one each for Kargil and Leh districts.
The resolution further demanded that there must be representation of the people of Ladakh in the Upper House of Parliament which must be materialized by granting one Rajya Sabha seat to the Union Territory.
The resolution also sought establishment of “Ladakh Public Service Commission” with the Ladakh Resident Certificate as a mandatory requirement for all recruitments for Gazetted Posts in the UT.
“The Re-organisation Act of 2019, Part XIII, 93 (2) mandates that the UPSC shall serve the needs of the Union Territory of Ladakh. It is a known fact that the educational scenario of Ladakh is still in its infancy and, therefore, the students of Ladakh are not at par with candidates from the rest of country. Therefore, there is a great resentment among the youth that the lack of level- playing field would deprive them of their due opportunity,” said the resolution while explaining reason behind the demand.
Furthermore, the resolution demands that all Gazetted posts of UT Ladakh must be reserved exclusively for the residents of Ladakh by making the Ladakh Resident Certificate a mandatory requirement for the same.
Besides trying to exert pressure on the BJP-led Central Government, both National Conference and Congress have also sought to re-align their political equation in Kargil through this resolution.
It may be recalled the 2018 elections to the Council had produced a hung verdict following which both NC and Congress had joined hands to elect Feroz Khan as the Chief Executive Councilor. However, after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the NC and the Congress fell out. The NC then entered into a coalition with two PDP Councilors and four Independents to continue in power. A few months later, both PDP Councilors had defected to the BJP but CEC Feroz Khan managed to control the Council without support of Congress.
The LAHDC Kargil has its term till August 2023 and today’s resolution hint that both NC and Congress may join hands once again for a coalition.
Meanwhile, Er Punchok Tashi along with some other Council addressed a press conference and said that they have come together for protection of rights of Kargil people.