Stranded outside, Ladakhis eagerly wait for Apr 14

Sanjeev K. Sharma

Jammu, Apr 8: The present lockdown triggered by COVID-19 pandemic has left many people from the newly created Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh stranded at different places across the country.
“Our people of Ladakh UT are stranded at Delhi, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Bihar, J&K and at many other parts of the country where they visited for different purposes,” President Ladakh Buddhist Association P.T Kunzang told this reporter over phone.
“While most of our children are in Jammu and at many other parts of the country for education purpose, there are also some Ladakhi Buddhist pilgrims at Gaya, Dehradun and Karnataka apart from the ailing people who went outside for treatment of their sickness,” Kunzang said.
He informed that Buddhist pilgrims from Ladakh mostly leave their homes in December-January for Bodh Gaya, Dehradun and Karnataka and return in March-April after performing the pilgrimage there.
Rigzin Dawa visited All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi for the treatment of his aunt when the nationwide lockdown was announced.
“Sir, as Out Patient Department has been closed we are stranded here at Ladakh Buddha Vihar (LBV) near ISBT New Delhi,” he informed adding that none of them is allowed to come out of LBV gate.
However, Dawa said that there is no problem in getting proper food during the lockdown at the place of their stay.
There were many more like Dawa who claimed that their surgeries are postponed at AIIMS and they were just waiting for some transportation to leave for their home in Ladakh.
It is worth to mention here that AIIMS and other major hospitals of the country have postponed all the surgeries and other routine functions including OPD barring certain emergency cases after the surge of Coronavirus pandemic.
After performing pilgrimage at Bodh Gaya, T. Sinala Nurboo has been trapped at Dehradun along with 36 other Ladakhis.
“We also have people from Zanskar here with us and we are paying about Rs 150-200 per day per head for our stay here,” Nurboo said adding that they were to leave for Ladakh on April 24 but all of a sudden the lockdown was announced.
He expressed satisfaction over the food availability at the place of their stay in New Delhi but maintained that they all are eagerly waiting for April 14 when the lockdown ends to enable them to leave for Delhi from where they may get a flight for Ladakh.
Mudasir, a social activist from Balti Bazar in Kargil is stranded in Jammu.
“I am in touch with many other people from Kargil which include elders, children, small kids and patients-all stranded in Jammu,” he said.
“Now, it is becoming hot in Jammu and the holy month of Ramzan is also arriving so we are eagerly awaiting the lockdown to finish so that we may leave for our home in Kargil,” Mudasir maintained.
He also said that many people from Kargil are stranded in Iran and the Government should make efforts to bring them back.
It is pertinent to mention here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a 21 day nationwide lockdown on March 24 as a preventive measure against the deadly Coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in over 60,000 deaths across the world and left lakhs of people with the infections of COVID-19.