After maintaining silence for one year, residents of Ladakh revived their stir for granting statehood and constitutional rights by observing a bandh on Wednesday.
The bandh was jointly observed in the twin mountainous towns of Leh and Kargil as the call for observing the strike was jointly given by the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) and Leh Apex Body (LAB).
"For the last one year, we were hoping that government will initiate some steps to fulfill our demands but, unfortunately, nothing concrete has been done so far", Chering Dorjey, leader of the LAB told The International Bussiness Times.
"Feed up with the verbal assurances of the government, we have now decided to intensify our stir", he said and added that very soon a calendar will be issued for agitational programmes for the year 2023 to accelerate the ongoing agitation.
He said that KDA and LAB would jointly decide on the future course of action of the agitation which was resumed after observing a strike on Wednesday.
Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) together with the Leh Apex Body (LAB), a collective of several trade unions, tourist bodies, and religious and political groups, observed a Ladakh bandh on November 2 to press for their core demands, including Statehood for the Union Territory, which was carved out of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019.
The KDA and the LAB apex body claim to represent the majority voice in Ladakh and see the current Union Territory status sans a legislative assembly as political marginalization.
Except for BJP, all political parties supported the bandh call. 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 the LAB as well as KDA 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.
Earlier a bandh was observed on Dec 13
- The agitation for statehood and constitutional rights started way back in 2020 when the Apex Committee of the Peoples' Movement of Ladakh was constituted.
- This committee raised the demand for statehood for the Union Territory and separate Lok Sabha seats for the Leh and Kargil districts.
- On the call of the Apex Committee, a complete bandh was earlier observed in the whole of Ladakh on December 13, 2021.
- In January 2021 the Union Government had formed a committee, headed by the then Minister of States (MoS) Home G Kishan Reddy to resolve the issues related to the conservation of Ladakhi language, culture, ethnicity, land, jobs, and participation of locals in development projects.
LG empowered for recruitment of gazetted officers
Amid the resumption of agitation, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification extending powers to the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh for regulating recruitment to public services and posts of Group 'A' and 'B' (Gazetted) cadre.
The notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs said the President has directed the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh to regulate recruitment to public services and posts of Group 'A' and Group 'B' (Gazetted) under his administrative control in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Main demands of the people of Ladakh
- Fulfilled statehood for Ladakh
- Constitutional safeguard (6th schedule)
- Additional Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seats
- Earlier Recruitment Process.