Hold one-day fast on March 24 to support sixth schedule demand for Ladakh: Sonam Wangchuk - Hindustan Times
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Hold one-day fast on March 24 to support sixth schedule demand for Ladakh: Sonam Wangchuk

Mar 19, 2024 12:46 PM IST

Sonam Wangchuk says the Centre broke people’ trust by declining to fulfil the promises of granting Ladakh statehood and sixth schedule

Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) government at the Centre for allegedly backtracking from its promise to extend safeguards guaranteed under the sixth schedule of the Constitution to Ladakh, environmentalist Sonam Wangchuk on Monday urged the people across the world to hold congregations and observe one day fast on March 24.

Environmentalist Sonam Wangchuk has been on a fast-unto-death for 13 days demanding Ladakh’s inclusion under the Constitution’s sixth schedule. (Source: X)
Environmentalist Sonam Wangchuk has been on a fast-unto-death for 13 days demanding Ladakh’s inclusion under the Constitution’s sixth schedule. (Source: X)

On the 13th day of his fast-unto-death, Wangchuk braved sub-zero temperatures, but was said to be looking frail.

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“Around 250 people slept hungry under -12° C to remind the Centre of their promises to safeguard Ladakh’s environment and tribal indigenous culture,” he said in a video message posted on ‘X’ on Monday.

The people of Ladakh are demanding safeguards under the sixth schedule, which covers tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, and has provision for the administration of certain tribal areas as autonomous entities.

Centre broke people’s trust

“After four years of dilly dallying tactics, the Centre, finally on March 4, straightaway declined to fulfil the promises. This is a total breach of trust and faith in leaders, governments and elections and if this continues it will set a very bad precedent for all elections and governments to come,” Wangchuk said.

“We hear that Prime Minister Modi is an aspirant of the Nobel peace prize. Well, I know the Nobel foundation because I have done lectures there at investiture ceremonies and trust (me) integrity of character is one of the minimum values they expect. The other simple appeal the people of Ladakh are making from the government is to restore basic democracy,” he added.

Wangchuk further said while Jammu and Kashmir is likely to get full democracy after assembly elections, Ladakh will be left under the rule of a bureaucracy controlled from New Delhi.

“The government likes to call India the ‘Mother of Democracy’. But if India denies democratic rights to people of Ladakh and continues to keep it under bureaucrats controlled from New Delhi then it could only be called a stepmother of democracy as far as Ladakh is concerned,” he asserted, appealing to the public at large to lend support to their call.

“On March 24, if possible I urge the people across the world to hold little congregations and fast in your cities,” he concluded.

The people of Ladakh have been demanding safeguards to Ladakh under the sixth schedule of the Constitution and statehood from the Centre. Talks between the Centre and a sub-committee of leaders from Ladakh have hit a dead end.

Going by the undercurrent, the region, which has one Lok Sabha seat, may also witness a boycott of the ensuing general elections by the people, who are seething in anger over what they called, “betrayal” by the BJP government.

A high powered committee (HPC) headed by union minister Nityanand Rai had constituted a sub-committee to discuss the demands of 6th schedule, statehood and allied issues.

The sub-committee had Buddhist spiritual leader and former BJP MP, Thupstan Chhewang, Chhering Dorje alias Lakrook and Nawang Rigzin Jora, all from Leh Apex Body (LAB), Qamar Ali Akhoon, Asgar Ali Karbalai and Sajjad Hussain alias Sajjad Kargili from Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA).

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