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No headway in Ladakh talks, groups to decide future course

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
March 04, 2024 22:55 IST
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Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday assured a delegation of two regional groups of Ladakh that the government-appointed high-powered committee formed to look into their statehood and other demands has been discussing the modalities to provide such Constitutional safeguards.

IMAGE: People take part in the 'Leh Chalo Andolan' called by Kargil Democratic Alliance and Leh Apex Body demanding the implementation of the 6th Schedule, statehood, Land, and job security and separate Lok Sabha Seat for Kargil and Leh, in Leh, February 3, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

A six-member delegation of the Apex Body, Leh and the Kargil Democratic Alliance from the Union territory called on the minister in New Delhi, the Union ministry of home affairs said in a statement.


The Union home minister told the delegation that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the central government was committed to providing necessary constitutional safeguards to the Union Territory of Ladakh, according to the ministry.

"He assured that the high powered committee on Ladakh constituted to look into the demands of ABL and KDA have been discussing the modalities to provide such constitutional safeguards," it said.

"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," the statement added.

The ministry said the high powered committee for Ladakh headed by Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai has been working actively with representatives of the ABL and the KDA and 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 said sub-committee was held today which was attended by the representatives of ABL and KDA.

"Senior officers of the 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 home ministry said in the statement.

Earlier in the day, the ABL and the KDA issued a statement saying their sub-committee failed to make any headway after two back-to-back meetings with central government functionaries.

The organisations also said they have decided to consult with the people of Ladakh to devise a future course of action.

The ABL and the KDA have been demanding statehood for Ladakh, the inclusion of the Union territory in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution and the setting up of an exclusive public service commission for the high-altitude region.

According to a statement issued by the two organisations, the sub-committee held a meeting with officials of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the advisor of the Union Territory of Ladakh which "ended without any concrete outcome".

Subsequently, the sub-committee held a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence that "too didn't result in any positive outcome", the ABL-KDA statement said.

The sub-committee was formed following a meeting held on February 19 between the HPC and a 14-member delegation of the LAB and the KDA, representing various organisations of the Union Territory.

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.

Akhoon, Chhewang, Lakruk and Karbalai signed the press statement issued on Monday.

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, sources said earlier.

Ladakh currently has one Lok Sabha constituency.

Ladakh, which no longer has any Assembly constituency, was earlier part of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, were abrogated on August 5, 2019, and the erstwhile state was bifurcated into the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

According to the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, Jammu and Kashmir has been made a Union Territory with a legislative assembly and Ladakh a Union Territory without any assembly.

There were four representatives from Ladakh in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir assembly.

The BJP-led Centre assured the delegation from Ladakh in December last year that it was committed to fast-tracking the development of the Union Territory and meeting the aspirations of the people in the region.

The assurance was given at a meeting held with the HPC for Ladakh.

The ministry of home affairs has 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 has also been 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 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.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.