Section 144 imposed in Leh ahead of Sonam Wangchuk’s ‘Pashmina March’

The DM said there shall be no procession, rally, march etc. taken out by anyone without the prior approval and no one should use vehicles mounted or other loudspeakers without approval

Updated - April 06, 2024 06:05 am IST

Published - April 05, 2024 09:05 pm IST - SRINAGAR

Education reformist and climate activist Sonam Wangchuk.

Education reformist and climate activist Sonam Wangchuk. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Ladakh administration on April 5 imposed Section 144 in Leh, banning public rallies just two days ahead of proposed ‘Pashmina March’ by climate activist Sonam Wangchuk to the Changthang region to highlight shrinking grazing lands of the Union Territory (UT).

Santosh Sukhdeva, District Magistrate, Leh, cited “reliable inputs of apprehension of breach of peace and public tranquility in the district”, while imposing Section 144.

The DM said there shall be no procession, rally, march etc. taken out by anyone without the prior approval and no one should use vehicles mounted or other loudspeakers without approval.

“No public gathering without the prior approval of the competent authority shall be allowed. No one shall make any statements, which have potential to disturb the communal harmony, public tranquility and which may lead to law and order problems in the district,” the order reads.

It warned that any violation of the order shall “invite punitive action”.

The order came in the wake of ongoing protests in Ladakh over the demands of Statehood and inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. 

Mr. Wangchuk, who recently sat on a 21-day long fast, is planning a march on April 7 towards the Changthang region. The march, according to him, will highlight shrinking grazing lands and threats emerging from big Indian industrialists and China. 

Likening his march with Gandhi’s Dandi march, Mr. Wangchuk said, “Our march will spread information about how the grazing lands of Ladakh’s shepherds are being taken away”.

In his earlier statement, Mr. Wangchuk said any move to stop the march will send a clear message to the rest of the country that there are issues with the grazing lands of Ladakh.

In his video appeal, Mr. Wangchuk said he, along with leaders of Leh Apex Body, will sit on fast from April 6. “We’ll end the fast after the Pashmina March on 7th April. We’re told supporters, leaders and journalists are coming from different parts of the country to participate in this peaceful march to our pasturelands,” he added.

The police in Ladakh have also issued a circular to reduce the speed of mobile data service in Leh to 2G.

“In view of present emergent security scenario and inputs received from Superintendent of Police District, Leh, and other intelligence agencies, there is every apprehension of possibility misuse of mobile data services by anti-social elements and miscreants to incite or provoke general public through various means of social media posts, which may cause and flare up law and order situation in the U.T of Ladakh, especially in District Leh,” Dr. Shiy Darshah Singh, Additional Director General of Police, Ladakh, said, in an order.

He said it was “absolutely necessary to reduce the mobile data services up to 2G “temporarily in the interest of maintenance of public peace, law and order.”

LAB coordinator Jigmat Paljor said imposition of Section 144 and internet shutdown in Leh shows that there is a lot to hide on the lost pasture lands to the Chinese incursion in the Changthang, in eastern Ladakh. “Don’t let Ladakh become another Kashmir,” Mr. Parlor said.

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