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Aug 05 decision still ‘haunts’ people of Ladakh: former minister

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Pledge to boycott LAHDC polls a historic decision, say leaders

BY: Tasaduq Hussain

Ladakh: Having announced to boycott the upcoming polls to LAHDC, different political parties in newly created Ladakh union territory Wednesday said that the last year’s August 05 decision has created so many apprehensions about their future.

The political leaders in Ladakh believe that the last year’s August 05 decision was taken without the consent of people, and the central government created a separate union territory from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir but didn’t give them legislative powers and there are no constitutional safeguards to the region either, which is worrying the people.

News agency KNO quoted former minister and ex-BJP chief of Ladakh, Chering Dorjey, as saying that the last year’s August 05 decision still haunts the people of the region, who are now demanding 6th schedule to safeguard their land and culture.

“If the Centre doesn’t give constitutional safeguards under the 6th schedule to the entire region, then there is no fun of making it as a separate union territory. People must be given constitutional security, because without that the UT status is meaningless,” Dorjey said.

The poll boycott is supported by all political and religious parties, student’s bodies and all panchs and sarpanchs including the common people and it marks a history of maiden mass boycotts in the entire region, he said.

“In the erstwhile state, the provisions under Article 35-A ensured the protection of the entire region, which is now gone,” he said. “Unless the safeguard under 6th schedule is given, people will continue to feel insecure.”

Rigzin Spalbar, region’s senior political leader and former CEC said that the boycott call is important and it sends a clear message, shows people’s commitment to their cause. “If people participate in the elections, it will convey as if everything is normal, which is certainly not the case. People are concerned and worried about their future and want constitutional safeguards and protection.”

Spalbar said the election boycott won’t favor anyone. “It is useless to go for the electoral process as not even the nominations will be filed here,” he said.

The former CEC of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) said when it finally comes to survival and existence, people here very well know what to do.

Rinchen Namgyal, official spokesman for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Ladakh said that the poll boycott decision is important and is in the larger interests of Ladakh. “We have to jointly demand the constitutional safeguard under 6th schedule,” he said.

He said he fails to understand as to why the people of Jammu and Kashmir have accepted the new domicile law.

“People in Ladakh have been demanding union territory status for the last three decades but with full legislative powers and proper security to it” he said. “No one knew about the last year August 05 decision and the government did not consult anyone that time. J&K shouldn’t have accepted the new domicile law, and Ladakh will in no way accept it.”

Ladakh parties flay BJP leader’s statement on LAHDC polls, seeks apology

Ladakh: Hundreds of people Wednesday staged a protest sit-in at Leh against the J&K BJP unit’s general secretary Ashok Kouls statement that the LAHDC elections would be held in time.

Pertinently, an apex body of veteran religious, political and student leaders has unanimously called for a complete poll boycott of LAHDC, Leh polls scheduled to commence from 16 October.

According to the news agency KNO, people assembled at the Grand Dragon and shouted slogans against the BJP general secretary for his statement, terming it as “irresponsible”.

Later the leaders of the apex body addressed a joint press briefing and condemned the statement made by Ashok Koul.

They said that Koul’s “irresponsible” statement hurt the sentiments of people of Ladakh.

Demanding an apology from Koul, the leaders said that he should take back his words and tender an apology.

They said when the joint statement was issued, Leh BJP district president, Nawang Samstan was also present; he is one of the signatories to the joint statement, and the decision he took was considering the sentiments of people and future of Ladakh.

The leaders said that the statement was aimed to break the unity of Ladakhis and there seems to be some motive behind it.

The Ladakhi leaders said that looking at the sentiments of the people, the government must take measures for securing the rights of local residents.

Pertinently, Ashok Koul is currently in Leh and has said that elections to LAHDC, Leh would happen on time and that boycott of polls was not the way forward. “We are talking to the BJP functionaries in Leh and others who took part in the meeting,” he had said.

Meanwhile, the Merchant Association Leh, as mark of protest against the statement of Ashok Koul, has called for half day ‘bandh’ (shutdown) tomorrow.

“To condemn and protest the unacceptable/irresponsible statement given by Ashok Kaul with regards to LAHDC Leh election boycott called by the apex body Peoples Movement for Sixth Schedule for Ladakh yesterday, Merchant Association Leh in support of apex body has decided to observe half-day bandh on Sep 24, 2020,” the traders body said.

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