After announcing a boycott of the High Powered Committee (HPC) constituted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs under the chairmanship of Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, political and social bodies of Ladakh are going to hold a protest march in support of their demands at Jammu on Sunday.

The Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), the two representative bodies of the two districts of Ladakh, have decided to hold a demonstration in Jammu to highlight their demands.

The LAB comprises representatives of the political and religious bodies of Leh, especially the powerful Ladakh Buddhists Association (LBA). The KDA is a political and religious organization of the Muslim-majority Kargil district.

Ladakh strike
social media

The protest will start from Indira Chowk and culminate in front of the Press Club Jammu. The main demands of the people of Ladakh are full-fledged statehood, constitutional safeguard under the sixth schedule of the Indian constitution, early recruitment process, and a separate Public Service Commission for Ladakh and separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh.

Ladakhi groups
social media

Earlier LAB, KDA announced a boycott of HPC

Earlier on January 7, the twin bodies of Ladakh, representing Leh and Kargil, decided to boycott the High Powered Committee (HPC) constituted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

The LAB and KDA, whose leadership met in Jammu on January 7 said the members suggested by them for inclusion in the Home Ministry's Panel have also been changed.

LAB and KDA issued a four-point agenda that both bodies want the HPC to include in the dialogue. The agenda includes full-fledged Statehood for Ladakh, Constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India, recruitment and job reservation for the youth of UT Ladakh, and the creation of two separate Parliamentary constituencies for Leh and Kargil.

The administrative boundaries of the newly formed UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
The administrative boundaries of the newly formed UTs of J&K and Ladakh.

All these four issues were missing in the agenda released by the Union Home Ministry for talks with LAB and KDA though there was a reference to the protection of rights.

A committee was constituted to safeguard land, and jobs in Ladakh

On January 3, 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 Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai.

"It has been decided to constitute a high-powered committee (HPC) under the chairmanship of Nityanand Rai, Minister of State for Home Affairs, for the Union Territory of Ladakh," reads the Home Ministry order.

The committee has been set up to discuss measures to protect Ladakh's unique culture and language taking into consideration its geographical location and its strategic importance.

The committee will also discuss measures to ensure the protection of land and employment for the people of Ladakh, the order states.

social media

The committee will discuss measures for inclusive development, employment generation in the region, and empowerment of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Leh and Kargil.
The 17-member committee has Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur, MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Chairmen of Leh and Kargil Hill councils, representatives of the Leh Apex Body, Kargil Democratic Alliance, and nominee officials of the Home Ministry as its members.

Civil society and political groups in Ladakh have been demanding inclusion under the sixth schedule of the Constitution to protect the land, employment and cultural identity of Ladakh after the Government of India abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two UTs—J&K and Ladakh—on August 5 August 2019.

Two Hill Development Councils (Leh and Kargil) have already passed unanimous, though separate, resolutions on four-point agenda on major demands, including full-fledged statehood for Ladakh, implementation of sixth schedule, 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.