Press Trust of india

 Ladakh bodies submit memorandum to home ministry demanding statehood, sixth schedule status

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New Delhi:  Representatives from Ladakh have submitted a memorandum to the Union home ministry demanding statehood for Ladakh, and status under the Sixth Schedule, sources said.

According to sources, representatives from Leh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance have submitted a detailed memorandum, including a draft of a bill for amending the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act of 2019 to provide statehood to Ladakh. The memorandum was submitted to the Home Ministry last week.

This comes as a high-level committee chaired by Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai has been holding meetings with representatives from the two bodies representing the two regions of Ladakh – Leh and Kargil. The ministry had sought a list of demands from the two bodies in writing during their last meeting on December 04.

The memorandum observed that the Supreme Court in its recent judgment has said that statehood is going to be restored in Jammu and Kashmir, but those provisions are not being extended to Ladakh which will remain a Union territory.

Referring to precedents of states like Mizoram, Tripura, Sikkim and other northeastern states in seeking statehood for Ladakh, the memorandum points out that these states are also protected under the Sixth Schedule and Article 371 of the Constitution of India.

Raising the demand for Sixth Schedule status, the memorandum pointed out that tribal communities like Balti, Beda, Bot, Boto, Brokpa, Drokpa, Dard, Shin, Changpa, Garra, Mon and Purigpa form a major chunk of population in Ladakh.

It also demanded a Ladakh Public Service Commission, stating that opportunities for the gazetted posts for the students of Ladakh have become limited as there is no such provision at present.

The memorandum also has a draft bill for amending The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019, which includes the provision for two MPs from the region – one each from Leh and Kargil, and says they are hopeful that the state will also get one seat in the Rajya Sabha on the lines of states like Sikkim.

The sources added that the date of the next meeting between the representatives and the MoS has not been decided yet, but is likely to be held early in February.

Ladakh was turned into a Union territory without legislature when Article 370 and 35A were abrogated, and Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union territories on August 05, 2019.

The Leh-based Ladakh Apex Body of People’s Movement for 6th Schedule and Kargil Democratic Alliance are the bodies from the two regions of Ladakh which have been demanding statehood, and Sixth Schedule status among other demands.

The LAB and KDA joined hands to forward their demands in August 2021, and in January 2023, the Union home ministry constituted a high-powered committee headed by MoS Rai to “ensure the protection of land and employment” for the people of Ladakh.

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