Leh welcomes Supreme Court verdict on Article 370, but Kargil is disappointed

The Apex Body of Leh said it had ‘always opposed Article 370’, but the Kargil Democratic Alliance found the judgment ‘a challenge to the country’s federal structure’

Published - December 13, 2023 01:36 am IST - Srinagar

An aerial view of Kargil town in Kargil. File.

An aerial view of Kargil town in Kargil. File. | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

Socio-political groups in Ladakh were divided over the Supreme Court’s verdict on Article 370, with parties from Leh welcoming the decision, but Kargil expressing its disappointment. The region was, however, unanimous in reiterating its demand for Statehood.

The Apex Body of Leh (ABL), an amalgam of religious and political parties in Leh district, termed the SC’s verdict as “a strong step in the direction of strengthening national integration”.

Also read: Supreme Court’s verdict upholding the abrogation of Article 370 | Explained

“The judgment raised the hope that the Central government would reassess the situation and give Ladakh its due by elevating it as a full-fledged State. The large area, highly patriotic population waiting for due recognition, need for faster development, strategic location, and distinct ethnic and cultural identity eminently entitled Ladakh to be made a State,” Thupstan Chhewang, chairman, ABL, said.

The ABL said it had “always opposed Article 370”.

Contrary to the ABL’s stand, Sajjad Kargili, a member of the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), an amalgam of religious and political parties in Kargil district, said the verdict was unsatisfactory. “It poses a challenge to the country’s federal structure as the court upheld J&K and Ladakh being turned into Union Territories without the consultation of the Assembly. The experiment of Ladakh could be repeated in any part of the country now,” Mr. Kargili said. 

Seeking Statehood for Ladakh, Mr. Kargili said there had been little attention paid to Ladakh in the verdict. “We strongly advocate for Ladakh’s full-fledged Statehood and [inclusion under] the Sixth Schedule. The SC decision was disappointing. It’s even more disappointing that there was nothing for Ladakh beyond one-line judgment, which deprives Ladakhis from democratically elected representation,” Mr. Kargili said.

Leh is a Buddhist majority district, and Kargil a Muslim majority district in the newly carved Union Territory of Ladakh.

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