LEH, Apr 8: Demanding Union Territory status with Legislative power to Ladakh region, Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) held a massive protest rally, here today.
The rally commenced from Chowkhang Vihara and after passing through main bazaar, culminated at Polo Ground. Thousands of people, including Numberdars, village representatives, Monks from different Monasteries, employees of different Government departments, various women groups and people from villages of all the five regions of Ladakh, took part in the rally.
They raised slogans in support of their demand and expressed resentment over the repeated discrimination meted out to the people by successive Kashmir centric Governments. Holding banners and placards, thousands of people peacefully marched towards the Polo Ground where several speakers addressed the gathering.
President LBA Tsewang Thinles, vice president P T Kunzang, LBA Youth vice president Konchok Stak, LBA women wing general secretary, addressed the gathering and alleged discrimination by successive Kashmir centric Governments for the last so many decades.
They also highlighted some other issue and demands, including reservation in promotion, regularization of contractual employees of PDD, Police, PWD and other departments, regularization of Airfare, LPG subsidy, tourism etc.
The LBA members later submitted a memorandum, addressed to the Prime Minister of India demanding granting of Union Territory status with legislature and action by the State Government on other highlighted issues.
LBA president Tsewang Thinles, in his speech, said that UT demand was not new but being raised by Ladakhis since 1947. Recalling that all religious leaders had unanimously demand UT during Home Ministry Rajnath Singh’s visit to Leh last year, he said that Hill Council granted to Ladakh was actually a handicap without any autonomy. He also appealed the Central Government to take Ladakhis into confidence while deciding anything about Kashmir issue.
Thinles cautioned that few vested interests were trying to harm the communal harmony thereby trying to create rift between different communities. He also demands subsidy to Buddhist pilgrimage during religious tour at par with Haj pilgrimage to Muslims community.
Vice president PT Kunzang said that LBA was not against any non-local doing various businesses there. “However, Kashmiris coming to Ladakh in large number when situation in the Valley gets worsen, must be checked timely,” he added.