Ladakh leaders discuss 4-point agenda at first ‘friendly-atmosphere’ HPC meet

Arteev Sharma. Updated: 12/5/2023 2:15:32 AM Front Page

Centre remains ‘non-committal’ to Statehood, Sixth Schedule demand; next meeting after Parl Session

Jammu: Ladakhi leaders on Monday vehemently raised, inter-alia, the issue of Statehood and Constitutional Safeguards to the region under Sixth Schedule during the first official meeting of reconstituted High Powered Committee (HPC), headed by the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, in New Delhi.
The meeting that lasted for one and a half hours and held in a “very cordial and friendly atmosphere”, however, remained inconclusive with the Centre remaining “non-committal” to fulfillment of major demands under four-point agenda put forth by Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA)---two organisations spearheading the movement for constitutional safeguards for the people of Ladakh.
“We had a detailed discussion on all major demands being raised by LAB and KDA under a four-point agenda. The Union MoS Home accompanied by the Union Home Secretary and other senior officials of the ministry listened to our concerns patiently but they did not make any commitment. The meeting was held in a friendly-atmosphere and there was no pre-condition for talks this time,” veteran LAB member Chering Dorjay Lakrook told The News Now.
The senior LAB leader said the Centre has assured the joint delegation of KDA and LAB for “uninterrupted talks” to resolve all issues confronting the people of Ladakh post-bifurcation of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and grant of UT status to Ladakh.
“They have assured us of a continuous dialogue process. They (Centre) have proposed to hold the next meeting after the Parliament session. The Union MoS is even hinted at holding a meeting of HPC in Ladakh,” he said.
Apart from grant of Statehood and Sixth Schedule status to Ladakh, the leaders held a detailed discussion on their demand for a separate Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for Ladakh and employment opportunities, including setting up of the Public Services Commission (PSC).
Senior KDA leader, Sajjad Kargili said the “first meeting of the HPC” was conducted in a “good atmosphere” and “representatives of both Leh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance raised the four-point agenda, including statehood, the Sixth Schedule, PSC-Gazetted Rules, and parliamentary representation”.
Echoing similar views, Co-chairman KDA Qamar Ali Akhoon also said that the meeting decided to hold the next round of talks after the conclusion of the ongoing Parliament Session. “There has been no commitment from the Centre so far but they assured for continuous talks,” he said.
“The Mos for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai, on behalf of the government, assured us for scheduling the next meeting soon and requested written representations. We hope that the government will give a positive response to the concerns of the people of Ladakh,” he said.
He said the meeting was attended by seven members from LAB comprising Thupstan Chhewang, former parliamentarian and president Ladakh Buddhist Association, Chhering Dorjey Lakrook, former Cabinet Minister in erstwhile J&K Government, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Congress president for Ladakh and ex-Cabinet Minister J&K, Tsering Wangdus, president, Ladakh Gonpa Association, Ashraf Ali Barcha, president, Anjuman Imamia Leh, Abdul Qayoom, president, Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam-Leh and Padma Stanzin, president Student Union-LEAF.
KDA leaders, Asgar Ali Karbalai (co-chairman of KDA and working president of Territorial Congress Committee, Ladakh), Qamar Ali Akhoon (co-chairman and general secretary of NC, Kargil), Sajjad Kargili (representative of Islamia School, Kargil), and Sheikh Bashir Shakir (representative of IKMT), Skarma Dadul, LBA Kargil, Mubarak Shah Naqvi, representative Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat Kargil and Syed Ahmad Rizvi, representative Anjuman-e-Saheb Zaman also attended the meeting.
Apart from LAB and KDA members, two Chief Executive Councillors (CECs) Kargil and Leh, Member of Parliament Jamyang Tsering Namgyal and Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor Pawan Kotwal attended the meeting.
It is placed to mention here that the Union MoS Home had chaired a high-level meeting of Ladakh leaders in North Block, New Delhi on June 19 wherein the KDA and the LAB leaders stressed for inclusion of their agenda whenever the HPC constituted by the Union Home Ministry to discuss issues of Ladakh, meets. Though the Union Government had earlier ruled out Statehood for Ladakh but the MHA this time conveyed Ladakh leaders that all issues could be discussed in the meeting that prompted the latter to accept the invite for talks.

Updated On 12/5/2023 2:16:11 AM

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