Ladakh Veterans Jointly Seek Sixth Schedule For The Desert Region

SRINAGAR: Taking cue from the Gupkar Declaration, Ladakh’s veteran leaders from across political parties have joined hands in demanding the implementation of 6th Schedule for Ladakh region. They have rejected the new domicile laws and have asked people to support their joint demand. They are seeking a legislative assembly also.

Senior leaders former MP Thupstan Chhewang, former Rajya Sabha MP Thiksay Rinpoche, former Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora and former Minister Chhering Dorjay Lakrook addressing a press conference on Monday.

The leaders who talked to media on Monday included former Members of Parliament Thiksay Rinpochey, Thupstan Chhewang (ex-MP) Nawang Rigzin Jora and former Minister Chering Dorjay.

They, however, did thank the Government of India for granting them the union territory status.

“We are happy that we have been freed from the yoke of selfish rulers who remote-controlled us both as people and territory. However, our experience ever since being made a UT on October 31, 2019, shows that our struggle for UT to be directly connected with the national capital has not been properly understood,” Jammu based newspaper Daily Excelsior quoted them saying. “Our movement for UT was motivated by a desire to gain self-respect through a system of self-governance to preserve and perpetuate our rare social, cultural, environmental and linguistic heritage. It was intended to achieve greater cooperation between us and the Union Government but instead, we find that a conventional approach has been adopted marked by non-application of mind to our historic struggle for political empowerment.”

The leaders said there are fears on the issue of employment avenues for our youth as under the existing laws would force them to compete with outsiders. They said all jobs in the region must be reserved for locals.

“First, we should be given a legislative assembly the soonest possible and, if for some reason the Union Government needs more time to ensure it, the two existing Autonomous Hill Development Councils in Leh and Kargil districts should be sufficiently empowered to make necessary legislation and rules for areas under their jurisdiction with elected representatives having the final say,” the leaders were quoted saying by the newspaper.

Secondly, they said Ladakh should be included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution for which they eminently qualify by virtue of having more than 95 per cent tribal population. Only such Constitutional safeguards would achieve the real purpose of our becoming a UT, the leaders asserted.

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