After a high-level meeting with a delegation of leaders from Ladak at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday in the national capital held by the Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy, the leaders informed that they have demanded restoration of Article 370 and 35A and complete statehood for Ladakh.
In the last meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Lok Kalyan Marg, there was no representation from the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Keeping forward the demands, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) leader Qamar Ali Akhoon said, “Our agenda is focussed on the restoration of Article 370 and 35A. We also told that we were against division but were in favour of the state. We don’t consider UT. We also discussed the development topic.”
Congress and KDA leader Asgar Ali Karbalai said, “We had 2 clear agendas – the restoration of Article 370 and 35A and full-fledged statehood for Ladakh. We discussed these with Union Home Minister for 2.5 hours. More meetings are to be followed to discuss this.”
While speaking to Republic, another leader who was present in the meeting said, “We have kept our demands forward. The Hon’ble miniter said that the Government has constituted a committee to look into the matter.”
This was in continuation with the meetings that the MHA is holding with the representatives from Ladakh for the last few months. It is being said that the main concern of the leaders are of the people of the Kargil who wished for a separate meeting to be held by the Central Government. There are also demands for the Sixth Schedule so that the tribals can be protected.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday had revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak to political leaders of Ladakh very soon. As per the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, J&K and Ladakh were carved out as separate Union Territories. According to Singh, Ladakh was given UT status owing to reasons such as terrorism and lack of socio-economic development and that the Union government had taken multiple measures to augment investment and infrastructure in the region.
PM Modi-led Kashmir meet
In a first meeting since the abrogation of Article 370, PM Modi invited top Kashmiri political parties like NC, PDP, Congress, Apni Party, CPM to come to New Delhi for talks to bolster political activities in the Union Territory. The meeting held on June 24 at 3 PM was chaired by PM Modi at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg and attended by Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha, Home Minister Amit Shah, Home Secretary. 14 politicians namely – NC chief Farooq Abdullah, NC vice-president Omar Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, CPI(M) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Tara Chand, J&K Apni party Syed Altaf Bukhari, JKPC chief Sajad Lone, Muzaffar Baig, Panthers Party leader Bhim Singh, BJP leaders Ravinder Raina, Kavinder Gupta, and Nirmal Singh were also invited. During a three-and-a-half-hour-long meeting, Prime Minister Modi patiently heard out suggestions and inputs from all participants. In a tweet after the meeting, PM had said that the Centre is committed to ensuring the complete development of J&K.