Hundreds of locals rally in Ladakh for Statehood as talks with Centre breakdown

The protest comes after inconclusive talks between groups representing Ladakh and the Ministry of Home Affairs

Updated - March 06, 2024 10:58 pm IST

Published - March 06, 2024 10:07 pm IST - SRINAGAR

Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) supporters stage a protest demanding statehood for Ladakh, its inclusion in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution, restoration of statehood and separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil districts, on March 6, 2024

Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) supporters stage a protest demanding statehood for Ladakh, its inclusion in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution, restoration of statehood and separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil districts, on March 6, 2024 | Photo Credit: ANI

Ladakh witnessed a shutdown and a protest rally, on March 6, calling for granting of Statehood to the newly-created Union Territory (UT) and its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The protest comes after inconclusive talks between groups representing Ladakh — the Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance — and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Explained | Why Ladakh has turned to mass protests in freezing temperatures

“All religious organisations called for Leh Bandh in support of the LAB and KDA after the meeting with the Ministry of Home Affairs failed on 4th March,” Jigmat Paljor, coordinator of the LAB, said.

Hundreds of peaceful protesters assembled at Leh’s NDS Ground, and a shutdown was observed in Kargil district. A call for a bandh and Leh Chalo was issued jointly by the LAB and KDA. 

Ladakh groups have been negotiating with the MHA on three major demands: Statehood, inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and creation of an exclusive Public Service Commission for Ladakh. There is also a demand to increase the number of Lok Sabha seats from one to two.

Climate activist Sonam Wangchuk addressed the gathering at Leh and announced a fast to press for the region’s demands. 

“I want to follow the peaceful methods of Mahatma Gandhi, where he inflicted pain on himself. I want to inflict pain on myself rather than taking anyone hostage. The pain will be inflicted on self so that our government and policy makers take notice of our pain and act,” Mr. Wangchuk said.

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