Meeting Between Sajad Kargili, Mirwaiz Stirs Political Debate


SRINAGAR: Ladakhi leader Sajad Kargili met Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Srinagar to discuss the Jamia Masjid restrictions in Srinagar.

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Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid after being released from house arrest on September 22,2023 (KL Image)

Media reports said that Kargili told Mirwaiz that the ‘artificial’ boundaries set between Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir following the repeal of Article 370 will not severe the region’s profound historical and cultural links. Kargili exacerbated the debate by claiming that if Ladakh is not granted statehood or listed in the Sixth Schedule, it should merge with Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting has sparked great discussion in Ladakh, reports suggest.

BJP spokesperson PT Kunzang as quoted by Outlook stated, “Kargili, a core group member of the Kargil Democratic Alliance, recently met Hurriyat Conference separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq,” Kunzang said. “Initially, they said it was a courtesy call given Eid Mubarak, which we have no objection to. However, we are yet to understand why Sajad Kargili discussed Ladakh issues with Umar Farooq.”

Kunzang questioned, “Issues of Jammu and Kashmir should be addressed by its leaders. What does a Kargil leader have to do with it?” he said. “Why drag Ladakh into this? We have our own issues. But will the Hurriyat Conference and separatist leaders decide on it?”

“We talked about the frequent restrictions imposed on entry to Jamia Masjid, the denial of permission for prayers, and its indefinite closure. I expressed my concerns about this,” Sajad told Outlook about the purpose of the meeting.

“I talked about the four-point agenda of Ladakh and mentioned that people in Kargil were not happy with the abrogation of Article 370 or the bifurcation of the state,” Kargili stated, “Our people still want that if Ladakh is not given Sixth Schedule status or statehood, then the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir should be restored. At least we should get our state. I also told Mirwaiz that the artificial lines created between J&K and Ladakh are not accepted by us. We have centuries-old history and relations, and nothing can separate us.”

However, BJP thinks that the meeting between the Kargili politician and the sepratist leader is a beginning of a “conspiracy.”

“We want to ask Asgar Ali Karbali and Qamar Ali Akhoon, chairpersons of the Kargil Democratic Alliance, what their core group member- Kargili- is doing with the Hurriyat. What is the secret agenda behind it?” Kunzang said. “One moment, you form a coordination committee with the Leh Apex Body and the Kargil Democratic Alliance, holding talks with the Government of India, and the next, you meet with separatists who seek independence. Is this meeting an attempt to derail Ladakh leaders’ talks with the government?”

Leh hailed the decision to abolish Article 370 shortly after it was made. However, a year after Article 370 was repealed, the political landscape in Leh changed dramatically with the foundation of the Apex Body of Leh, a coalition of Leh’s diverse political and religious parties led by former MP Thupstan Chhewang.

The Leh Apex Body began campaigning for constitutional measures to protect the local population, specifically the implementation of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. Later, on September 3, 2021, the BJP-led LAHDC Leh issued a resolution calling for safeguards under Article 371 of India’s Constitution, the Sixth Schedule, or domicile legislation to protect the tribal rights of Ladakh’s indigenous people.



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