Other States

Ladakh delegation meets Amit Shah

Home Minister Amit Shah during a meeting with former MP Thupstan Chhewang, former MP Thiksay Rinpoche, former Minister Chering Dorjay Lakrook & other public representatives of Union Territory of Ladakh, in New Delhi. Also seen are MoS for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy and Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Days after all major political parties including the BJP announced their decision to boycott the upcoming elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Leh if their demands to include the newly created Union Territory in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution was not met, a delegation local political leaders met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Saturday.

Mr. Shah, who had curtailed meetings with public representatives after he tested positive for COVID-19 infection on August 2, met the delegation led by former Rajya Sabha Member Skyabje Thiksey Khampo Rinpochey, the head of the Thiksay monastery in Ladakh, for 30 minutes on Saturday.

The delegation presented its demand to grant Sixth Schedule status to Ladakh to protect it from “outsiders.”

The Ministry tweeted, “Union Home Minister @AmitShah met with former MP Thupstan Chhewang, former MP Thiksay Rinpoche, former Minister Chering Dorjay Lakrook & other public representatives of Union Territory of Ladakh in New Delhi. MoS Home @kishanreddybjp and MoS (IC) @KirenRijiju were also present.”

On August 5 last year, Mr. Shah moved two bills in the Rajya Sabha to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and to downgrade and bifurcate the State into two Union Territories- J&K and Ladakh, the latter without a legislative assembly. Ladakh has two councils — LAHDC -Leh and Kargil — to govern micro issues.

Back to Article 35A

Chering Dorjay Lakrook, former BJP president in Ladakh who met Mr. Shah, told The Hindu that they were demanding restoration of protection as granted under Article 35A of the Constitution that was revoked last year.

The Article 35A of the Constitution let the J&K Legislature decide the “permanent residents” in the former State, prohibited a non-J&K resident from buying property and ensured job reservation for its residents. Recently the Union Home Ministry amended a 2010 law specifying the category of domiciles in UT of J&K. The domicile category of Ladakh is yet to be announced.

“We do not want a domicile policy like that in J&K; anyone who has spent 15 years in J&K can be a domicile now. This is why we want inclusion in Sixth Schedule to protect our identity, culture and land,” Mr. Lakrook said.

The Sixth Schedule protects tribal populations and provides autonomy to the communities through creation of autonomous development councils, which can frame laws on land, public health, agriculture etc. As of now 10 autonomous councils exist in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Received assurances

Mr. Lakrook said the delegation have been assured of some remedial steps by the Home Minister and will take a call to participate in the elections after that.

He said they had sought an appointment with Mr. Shah on Friday and rushed to Delhi on Saturday after a meeting was granted.

The People’s Movement, a group comprising all political parties and the influential Buddhist Association had announced earlier this week that none will file nominations for the October 16 council elections.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 11:49:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ladakh-delegation-meets-shah/article32704122.ece

Next Story