Buddhist and Muslim Coalitions Rally for Ladakh’s Special Status and Statehood

In a unified display of solidarity, the Buddhist and Muslim communities of Ladakh have joined forces, announcing a ‘Kargil Bandh’ and ‘Leh Chalo’ movement scheduled for Saturday, February 3. This coordinated effort aims to exert pressure on the Central government to address their longstanding demands for statehood and special status.

The call to action, jointly issued by the Kargil Democratic Alliance representing Muslim organizations in Kargil and the Leh Apex Body representing Buddhist groups in Leh, urges the residents of both districts to participate actively. Leh residents are called upon to partake in a march, while Kargil residents are urged to observe a complete shutdown.

At the heart of their demands lie aspirations for inclusion under the Constitution’s sixth schedule, the establishment of a public service commission, job reservations for locals, expedited recruitment drives, and separate parliamentary representation for Leh and Kargil districts.

This mobilization coincides with the announcement by the Central government on Friday, February 2, regarding the scheduling of a second round of negotiations in Delhi on February 19. These talks, under the direction of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai, aim to address the grievances voiced by Ladakh’s populace.

 

The genesis of these demands dates back to Ladakh’s transformation into a separate Union Territory in 2019, following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. Despite promises of empowerment, concerns persist regarding historical disempowerment and the need for substantive representation.

Sajjad Kargili, leader of the Kargil Democratic Alliance, emphasized the collective struggle for democracy, language, and culture. “We are suffering historical disempowerment today, despite announcements in Parliament that we will be empowered,” he stated, rallying Kargilites to embrace the shutdown and Leh residents to march in solidarity.

The convergence of Buddhist and Muslim communities, once characterized by animosity, underscores a shared apprehension regarding demographic shifts and the preservation of indigenous identity. Their alliance seeks to safeguard against external pressures threatening their cultural integrity.

The Central government, recognizing the urgency of these concerns, formed a committee under Rai’s leadership in January 2023. However, amidst accusations of stagnation, the committee was reconstituted in November, with the first round of talks held in December.

As Ladakh’s communities unite in their pursuit of equitable representation and safeguarding of heritage, the ‘Kargil Bandh’ and ‘Leh Chalo’ movements stand as poignant symbols of collective determination and resilience in the face of systemic challenges.

Crime Today News | India

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