Shah for continuous dialogue with Ladakh bodies on host of issues

New Delhi, Dec 26 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah virtually attends the felicitation ceremony of newly elected MLAs organised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Surat, in New Delhi on Sunday. (ANI Photo)

No concrete outcome; say LAB, KDA

UT organizations to meet people for future course

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Mar 4: Union Home Minister Amit Shah today called for continuous dialogue between the MHA and Ladakh bodies-Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) on the issues like culture, language, protection of land, employment and development of the Union Territory while the LAB and KDA said today’s Sub Committee meeting ended without any concrete outcome and they will devise future course of action after consultations with the people.
Following stalemate in the Sub Committee meeting in North Block, the LAB and KDA representatives met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.
An official statement issued by the MHA said a six-member delegation of LAB and KDA called on Amit Shah in New Delhi, today
“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Government of India is committed to provide necessary Constitutional safeguards to Union Territory of Ladakh,” the statement said, adding the Home Minister assured the delegation that High Powered Committee on Ladakh constituted to look into the demands of LAB and KDA has been discussing the modalities to provide Constitutional safeguards.
The Home Minister expressed that the consultative mechanism established through this High Powered Committee should continue to engage on issues such as measures to protect the region’s unique culture and language, protection of land and employment, inclusive development and employment generation, empowerment of LAHDCs and examine constitutional safeguards for positive outcomes.
“High Powered Committee under the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs has been working actively with the representatives of LAB and KDA. A significant progress has been made. A sub-committee constituted by the HPC, is also actively engaged with the Ministry of Law and other experts.
“The second meeting of the sub-committee was held today which was attended by the representatives of LAB and KDA. Senior officers of Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Legal Affairs and Legislative Department were also present. The meeting was held in a cordial manner and various issues pertaining to land, employment and constitutional safeguards progressed for the benefit of the people of Ladakh,” the MHA statement said.
The LAB and KDA have been demanding statehood for Ladakh, inclusion of the Union Territory in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution and the setting up of an exclusive Public Service Commission (PSC) for the high-altitude region.
The sub-committee of the LAB and KDA held a meeting with officials of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Advisor of the Union Territory of Ladakh, according to a separate statement issued by the two organisations.
“The meeting ended without any concrete outcome,” the statement signed by Thupstan Chhewang, Chering Dorjey Lakruk, both from LAB and Asgar Karbalai and Qamar Ali Akhoon, who represented KDA, said.
It said subsequently, the Sub-Committee held a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence. “This meeting too didn’t result in any positive outcome,” the organisations said.
According to the statement, the organisations have decided to devise a future course of action after consultation with the people of the two districts of Ladakh – Leh and Kargil.
The LAB and KDA had earlier stated that they would resort to agitation if the talks with MHA don’t mature.
The Sub-Committee was formed following a meeting held on February 19 between the High Powered Committee (HPC) for Ladakh headed by Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai and a 14-member delegation of the LAB and the KDA, representing various organisations of the Union Territory. This was second meeting of the Sub Committee.
Thupstan Chhewang, Chering Dorjay Lakruk and Nawang Rigzin Jora, representing the LAB, and Qamar Ali Akhoon, Asgar Ali Karbalai and Sajjad Kargili, representing the KDA, are members of the sub-committee. The MHA officials and Pawan Kotwal, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh are also part of the Sub Committee.
The other demands of the delegation include two Lok Sabha seats (one for Kargil and one for Leh) and job opportunities for the residents of the Union Territory. Ladakh currently has one Lok Sabha constituency.
The MHA had formed the HPC for Ladakh under Rai’s chairmanship with a mandate to discuss the measures needed to be taken to protect the region’s unique culture and language, taking into consideration its geographical location and strategic importance.
The HPC was formed for the protection of land and employment, measures for inclusive development and employment generation in the region, measures related to the empowerment of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDCs) of Leh and Kargil and the constitutional safeguards that could be provided to ensure the measures and protection as mentioned above.
Several organisations of Ladakh were demanding a separate Union Territory for the region for decades and the demand was fulfilled on August 5, 2019.
The KDA and the LAB, however, in the recent past protested at different locations, including New Delhi, Jammu and Ladakh, highlighting their key demands.