Ladakh observes shutdown to assert demand for constitutional safeguard, statehood

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Leh, Dec 13: Expressing concerns over the safeguard of the region, Ladakh Union Territory (UT) Monday observed a complete Bandh on a call given by the regional leaders against the central government for not inviting them to hold deliberations regarding the constitutional safeguard.

The Bandh call was given by Apex Body Leh and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) against the Government of India (GOI) for not initiating the process of talks with the regional leaders of Ladakh.

In January this year, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced the formation of a committee to look into the possibilities of Ladakh in the 6th schedule.

The MHA later called KDA for talks in June and assured that a joint committee will be formed to hold further deliberations regarding the constitutional safeguard of the region.

Chering Dorjay, the founding member of Apex Body Leh said that the Bandh call evoked immense response from all the stakeholders and communities of the region to mark a peaceful protest against the central government for not holding talks with the local leaders.

He said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is taking extra time in holding further talks with the regional leaders regarding the demands raised by them.

“So far it has been observed that the MHA has not initiated any concrete and sincere steps about the assurances to hold talks with us in New Delhi,” Dorjay said. “In case of no immediate response from the government, we will be compelled to strengthen demands besides something apart from bandh will be on cards.”

Qambar Ali Akhoon, a former minister from the region said that despite assurances from the Home Ministry to hold talks early regarding the constitutional safeguard to the region nothing concrete has been done which compelled them to call for Ladakh bandh.

“There was a positive response from all quarters and not only the towns, even the markets in the farthest areas observed Bandh in support of the demands,” the former minister said, adding that the region is facing immense challenges.

“No recruitment board has been constituted so far nor any job recruitment has taken place post the UT status while youth are suffering”, Akhoon said.

“We have raised our four demands which include, full fledged statehood, separate parliament seats for two districts, constitutional safeguards, and an early recruitment process.”

Asgar Karbalai, co-chairman of KDA said that in case the government continues to show a cold response they will be compelled to strengthen their demands and hold mass agitations across the region in every nook and corner.

“The bandh has shown everyone that the people of Ladakh stand with the agenda of KDA and Apex Body,” Karbalai said.

Noteworthy, a year after the UT status to the region there has been mounting demand for constitutional safeguard for Ladakh to prevent its unique, culture and identity. kno

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