Kargil leaders to fight battle in Supreme Court on Article 370

They express ‘desire to see pre-August 5 position’

Updated - August 12, 2021 10:53 pm IST

Published - August 12, 2021 09:47 pm IST - Srinagar

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File

Three top leaders from Ladakh’s Kargil district, who challenged the Central government’s August 5, 2019 move in the Supreme Court earlier this week, on Thursday said the leadership of the region had decided “to launch a legal battle against the dilution of Article 370 and express desire to see the pre-August 5 position”.

Sajad Kargili, who is among the petitioners, said the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), a grouping of regional parties and local seminaries, had always held that the 2019 decisions were “illegal and unconstitutional”.

“The Kargil leadership has now decided to start a legal fight in the Supreme Court, as a false narrative is being woven that the people of Ladakh are happy with the status of Union Territory (UT). We are hopeful the court will do justice. We desire for the pre-August 5 position,” Mr. Kargili told The Hindu .

KDA leaders, during a meeting with Union Minster of Home G Kishan Reddy on July 1 last, conveyed the stand on the revocation of special provisions of Article 370 and 35A. “Till the court gives its verdict, we have demanded the restoration of full Statehood with constitutional guarantees on the lines of Schedule 6 to protect demography, culture and environment of the region,” Mr. Kargili said.

BJP councillors’ protest

Qamar Ali Akhoon, a National Conference leader and a member of the KDA, stated that the success of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's move of August 5 could be gauged from the fact that even BJP councillors of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Leh held a demonstration outside the Lieutenant Governor’s office against, what they called, “dictatorial administrators”.

Mr. Akhoon said, “The fact remains we are not happy under the UT. Not even those who celebrated it then. We are for pre-August 5 position and immediate restoration of full Statehood”. Post August 5 saw disempowerment of the LAHDC, an elected body, too. “The LAHDC budget that was earlier non lapsable has been made lapsable, thus returning the funds unused back to the Centre,” he added.

The petition filed by leaders earlier this week, which also include Congress leader Asgar Ali Karbalai, described the revocation of provisions of Article 370 as a move “to usurp the power from the people to elect their own representatives and impose a dictatorial regime wherein the entire democratic process has been annulled and the inhabitants of the region have been left at the mercy of administrators who do not possess mandate of inhabitants of the region”.

According to the petition, the move also amounted “to an overnight abrogation of the democratic rights and freedoms guaranteed to the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir upon its accession”. “The UT of Ladakh was an integral part of J&K. The region due to its terrain and climatic conditions is dependent on the erstwhile State of J&K,” it added.

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