Notwithstanding efforts of some organizations to evolve a consensus among different organizations to decide the future of Ladakh, serious differences have emerged between representatives of Leh and Kargil over the demand of restoring Article 370 and 35-A of the Indian Constitution.
During their meeting with Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy at Delhi on Thursday, the representatives of Kargil, under the banner of Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), demanded the restoration of Article 370 and 35-A to ‘protect the identity and ‘special status’ of Ladakh.
Restoration of Art 370, 35-A is our core agenda: KDA
“Our focus was only on two points -statehood for Ladakh and restoration of Article 370 and 35-A. We put these demands before the Centre”, chairman of the KDA, Haji Asgar Ali Karbalai, told The International Business Times after meeting in Delhi. He said that an eleven-member delegation comprising representatives of all political, religious, social, and student organizations meet Union Minister to apprise the Centre about our demand.
Karbalai argued that without restoration of Article 370 and 35-A, protection of land and job rights was not possible so KDA has demanded that these two articles should be restored. The KDA delegation also demanded that full-fledged statehood should be granted to the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Leh’s Apex Body opposes restoration of Art 370 demand
Apex Body of the Peoples’ Movement of Ladakh (Leh) strongly opposed the demand of KDA to restore Article 370 and 35-A. “We are not in favour of this demand. We are demanding only UT with Legislature”, former Minister and member of the Apex Body Leh, Chering Dorjay told The International Business Times.
“Coordination with KDA is impossible if they insist on impossible demands like restoring Article 370, 35-A and restoration of pre-August 5, 2019, position”, Dorjay said but hastened to add that the Apex Body was ready to discuss statehood issue because UT with Legislature and statehood was almost same.
On June 23, the Apex Body of Leh had raised the demand of ‘UT with the legislature’ status. The panel had raised this demand within days after administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh has reserved jobs for local residents only.
Panel to initiate dialogue with representatives of Ladakh
The Centre has announced to form a committee comprising representatives of Leh and Kargil to initiate dialogue to evolve consensus on all issues.
“Our meeting with Union Minister was very positive. The Government has shown its concern to solve all our issues”, Karbalai said and added that MoS Home will discuss our demands with Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and Home Minister, Amit Shah.
Karbalai further said that the Centre has decided to involve members of the civil society and religious groups in the proposed committee to give representation to all sections of society.