SRINAGAR: A complete shutdown was observed in Ladakh to press for the demand of statehood for the region that was carved out as a separate union territory in August 2019.
In the Leh and Kargil districts, roads wear a deserted look. All commercial and business activities have come to a standstill in Leh. The bandh call has been given by a Leh-based apex body, which represents various social, religious and political groups in Leh, and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA). Both groups have formed an alliance and threatened an agitation in support of their demand for statehood. They also demand constitutional safeguards on the lines of the 6th schedule; separate parliament seats for Leh and Kargil districts and recruitment for 12,000 posts in Ladakh.
Ironically, when Jammu and Kashmir was stripped of its statehood and downgraded into two union territories, there were celebrations in Leh. The Ladakh Buddhist Association, which was part of the celebrations then, is now a part of the political alliance demanding statehood and constitutional guarantees for job and land rights exclusively for the people of Ladakh.
Initially, the BJP unit of Ladakh was a part of the alliance but later pulled out of it as the party came under criticism for “doublespeak”.
This is also the first time when the leadership in Muslim-majority Kargil and Buddhist-dominated Leh have joined hands for their political future.