The much-awaited meeting of the agitating groups of Ladakh with the representatives of the Union Government will be held on December 4 to restart the dialogue on various issues including statehood for the Union Territory.

On December 4 the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will hold a meeting with the leaders of Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA)—two groups spearheading the movement for statehood and constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution— in New Delhi.

According to reports, leaders of the LAB and KDA have been informed about the scheduled meeting by the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The meeting will be chaired by the Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Nityanand Rai, who is also the chairman of the High Powered Committee (HPC) constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The chairman of the KDA and senior National Conference leader Qamar Ali Akhoon confirmed with the media that they have received the invitation for talks with the MHA on December 4.

Ladakhi groups
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Centre is ready to discuss all issues

Although there has been no formal dialogue with agitating groups of Ladakh and the representatives of the Ministry of Home Affairs for the last couple of months, the Union Government is ready to discuss all issues being raised by the LAB and KDA.

After holding a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi in February this year, the agitating groups of Ladkah were waiting for the response of the Union Government.

The LAB and the KDA have already submitted the lists of seven members each to the MHA for holding talks.

Apart from 14 members of the joint delegation of LAB and KDA, Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh Brig (Retd) BD Mishra, BJP Lok Sabha Member from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal and both Chairpersons-cum-CECs of Hill Development Councils, Leh and Kargil will also attend the meeting.

On January 3, the Union Home Ministry has constituted a high-powered committee to discuss land and employment safeguards for the Union Territory of Ladakh. The committee will be headed by the Minister of State for Home Affairs.

Ladakhi groups
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Ladakh groups agitating for statehood, Sixth Schedule

The LAB and the KDA have been spearheading the agitation in support of their four major demands including full-fledged statehood for Ladakh, implementation of the Sixth Schedule to protect the interest of the tribal people of Ladakh, separate Lok Sabha seats for Kargil and Leh, and establishment of Ladakh Public Service Commission with the Ladakh Resident Certificate (LRC) as a mandatory requirement for all Gazetted posts in Ladakh.

Except for the BJP, all political parties have joined the stir. The BJP, which rules Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, stayed away from the agitational programme in Ladakh.

The BJP has distanced itself from agitating on the ground that the grant of Union Territory was a major demand of Ladakhis, which was accepted by the Central Government on August 5, 2019.