SRINAGAR: Seeking statehood, Ladakh observed a complete weekend strike even as Junior Home Minister held talks with the leaders of the desert region. They are seeking safeguards to their culture and identity.
Reports said the meeting at Leh between the Apex Body of Leh and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) with Nityanand Rai continued for more than three hours even when the region was on protest strike with life in a complete deep freeze. The Ladakh delegation has five members each from Kargil and Leh. The Kargil delegation was led by senior NC leader, Qamar Ali Akhoon. The strike was announced when a parliament standing committee was touring the region.
The demands by the local leaders included the implementation of sixth schedule protections and a Lok Sabha seat each for each district. Currently, Ladakh has only one berth in Lok Sabha. They also sought jobs for local youth and fast-forwarding the recruitment processes.
Though BJP MP from the region, Tsering Jamyang Namgyal is part of the Apex Body, he skipped the meeting. Leh Hill Development Council Chairman-cum-CEC Tashi Gyalson and BJP district president Tashi Khachutse didn’t also attend the meeting.
Though the twin districts were divided on various issues, they joined hands on August 1 with the common minimum programme of having a full-fledged state and protection to their identity, culture and demography. The strike call was given by the leaders alleging the Government of India was not responding to their pleas.
The call led the Home Minister Amit Shah to call his junior, who was in Leh, and the meeting materialized. The immediate outcome of the meeting was that the constitution of a high-level committee to take up issues raised by the two bodies.
“During the meeting, the MoS Home assured us that a high-level committee will be set up very shortly comprising five representatives of LAB, four from KDA, MP Ladakh, UT representatives, two CEC-cum-Chairpersons of Leh and Kargil Hill Development Councils and officials of the Home Ministry,” the LAB chief, Thupstan Chewwang was quoted saying. “Our demands remain unchanged which were projected in the August 2 meeting between LAB and KDA.”