6th schedule, statehood demand: Ladakh leaders to hold fresh talks with Centre - Hindustan Times
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6th schedule, statehood demand: Ladakh leaders to hold fresh round of talks with Centre today

ByRavi Krishan Khajuria, Jammu
Feb 24, 2024 01:44 AM IST

Buddhist spiritual leader and former BJP MP Thupstan Chhewang said, “On Saturday, we have another round of talks with officials of the home ministry”

The leaders of Ladakh are set for another round of talks with Union home ministry officials, including home secretary Ajay Bhalla, on Saturday and its outcome would decide the Leh apex body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance’s (KDA) further course of action.

Sonam Wangchuk (HT File)
Sonam Wangchuk (HT File)

Buddhist spiritual leader and former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Thupstan Chhewang said, “On Saturday, we have another round of talks with officials of the home ministry and Sunday’s meeting depends upon the outcome of tomorrow’s meeting”.

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The leaders would discuss three main issues with the home ministry officials.

“A sub-committee of a high powered committee of the Centre, which has three members each from KDA and LAB, shall meet with the officials,” he added.

The veteran leader said that the Centre was initially keen to grant 6th schedule to Ladakh, but then took a U-turn.

“Subsequently, we started a movement. Our MP had promised that government would grant 6th schedule to Ladakh,” he said.

Thupstan pointed out that a memorandum was submitted and a panel was formed to meet the Prime Minister when government suddenly went back on its words.

“After so many rounds of talks, the Centre is still not able to finalise anything. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow at the meeting,” he said.

He lamented that three rounds of discussions with the Union home minister remained inconclusive.

“Centre says 6th schedule is confined to two to three northeastern states and if they grant it to Ladakh, then it may open a pandora’s box as other states with tribal population may start demanding it,” he said.

He said that amid talks, the LAB and KDA have also confined to four demands, viz statehood, legislative assembly, safeguards under 6th schedule and formation of a public service commission.

“In recent meetings, we gave up our demand of two Parliamentary constituencies because there is a rider on delimitation till 2026. Some compromise has to be done to reach a solution,” he said.

He added that if the talks fail, then the people would be compelled to intensify their agitation. “However, a decision on fast unto death by renowned environmentalist Sonam Wangchuk and other leaders will be taken after the outcome of the meeting,” the leader said.

He expressed hope that the Centre takes a call before model code of conduct is put in place for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls because to meet the demands, constitutional amendments are required.

Wangchuk said, “We don’t want to go on fast unto death, but if compelled, then we have to. In 2019, when Ladakh was made a Union Territory, the government promised 6th schedule in its manifesto and in various minutes of the meetings”.

“Thereafter, it turned silent and is now opposing it. There are certain industrial and mining lobbies which don’t want Ladakh to be safeguarded under the 6th schedule,” said Wangchuk.

We think it becomes indispensable for us to raise our voice because if we remain silent, these lobbies will prevail. We hope things come out well in the meeting and we are not compelled to go on fast unto death, he added

Wangchuk said that this being a movement by the people of Ladakh, hundreds would go on fast for 10 days.

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