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Ladakh safeguards: LAB, KDA reject HPC; reiterate 4-point agenda, to intensify agitation, protests planned in Jammu, Delhi

JAMMU: In a significant development, the Leh Apex body (LAB) and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) Saturday rejected the formation of the High Power Committee (HPC) constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), deciding not to attend any of its proposed meetings.

Both the bodies strongly objected to the composition of members of HPC representing LBA and KDA, and maintained that the government has arbitrarily excluded and included members without consultation with them, and demanded all the names as proposed by them to MHA in the year 2021 should be included.

Noting that the committee has not been mandated to discuss issues raised by the LAB and the KDA, the two bodies spearheading the agitation for Ladakh’s inclusion into sixth schedule of the constitution said that they will agree to participate in any meeting headed by a committee which is empowered to discuss its four-point agenda.

The four-point agenda proposed for the discussion include full-fledged statehood for Ladakh; constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India in order to protect the interest of the tribal people of Ladakh; formation of Public services commission and reservation of jobs for youth of Ladakh; and creation of two separate Parliamentary constituencies for Leh and Kargil.

The Home Ministry on January 3 this year had constituted a high-powered committee to discuss safeguards for Union Territory of Ladakh. To be headed by Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanad Rai, the committee was entrusted with the responsibility of discuss measures to protect the region’s unique culture and language taking into consideration its geographical location and its strategic importance; measures to ensure protection of land and employment for the people of Ladakh, and measures for inclusive development and employment generation in the region empowerment of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils of Leh and Kargil.

Both LBA and KDA had refrained from making any comments on the development, till the meeting which was held today in Jammu to discuss the further plan of action. The meeting was attended by Thupstan Tsewang, Qamar Ali Akhoon, Tsering Dorjey Lakruk and Asgar Ali Karbalai, among others.

“In the meeting, which was attended by all the members of the LAB and KDA it was decided that they will not participate in the proposed meeting as the agenda set out for discussion excludes the issues which both bodies have been advocating,” said a KDA member.

“The LBA and KDA has decided not to accept the formation of the HPC and attend any meeting conducted under the aegis of the HPC as the said committee has not been mandated to discuss issues raised by the Apex and the KDA,” said an official handout issued later in the evening.

However, it was resolved that both the bodies will agree to participate in any meeting headed by a committee which is empowered to discuss the four issues in question.

Both the bodies strongly objected to the composition of the members of the High-Powered Committee stating that the Home Ministry has arbitrarily excluded and included members in the above committee. The meeting resolved that the government should include all the names as proposed by the LAB and KDA in the year 2021, as per Home Ministry’s instructions.

The LAB had sent the names of Venerable Thiksey Rinpochhe, former MP Thupstan Chhewang, former minister Nawang Rigzin Zora, Tsering Dorjey Lakruk, Acharya Stanzin Wangtak, President LGA Leh, Ashraf Ali Barcha, President Anjuman Imamia, Dr Abdul Qayum, President Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam, while the KDA had sent the names of former minister Qamar Ali Akhoon, former MLA Asgar Ali Karbalai, Sajjad Hussain Kargili, representative Jamiat Ulema Isna Asharia, Sheikh Bashir Shakir, Vice chairman IKMT Kargil, Agha Syed Ahmad Rizvi Anjuman Sahab Zaman, Agha Syed Mohammad Shah Anjuman Noorbakshia, Haji Ghulam Nabi Var Anjuman e Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat, and Skarma Dadul, Ladakh Buddhist Association Kargil.

It was further resolved in the meeting that the agitation for the resolution of above four issues would continue till their genuine demands are fulfilled.

“In this connection, the Apex and KDA propose to have protest rally at Jammu on January 15, followed by Dharna protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on February 3. It may further be clarified that both the bodies have decided to intensify the agitation during 2023,” said the handout.


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