National

Stranded Ladakhis ignored, say councillors

Members of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council-Leh stage protest

Several members of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council-Leh (LAHDC-L) on Monday protested against the Union Territory (UT) administration’s “inability to bring back stranded locals” and “sidelining of the Council in any decision-making”.

Chief Executive Councillor, LAHDC-L, Gyal P. Wangyal led the protest outside the Lieutenant Governor Radha Krishna Mathur’s office in Leh. Later, the CEC and six councillors were allowed to meet Mr. Mathur to register their protest and put forth their demand formally.

“We were forced to protest because two locals from Leh died in Jodhpur recently after their evacuation from Iran in March. They deserve funeral and burial at home. Hundreds of students, who have run out of money, are facing tough times due to the lockdown in parts of the country. Our repeated pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” councillor Sayeeda Bano Ladakhi, who was among the protesting councillors, told The Hindu over the phone.

She alleged that the UT administration was sidelining the LAHDC from any decision making. “LAHDC is a reality because of sacrifices made by us. We have been elected to serve people. The UT administration, however, wants us to stay home. There is an attempt to decrease our role in any decision-making. The status of UT has only weakened our institutions in Leh,” Ms. Ladakhi said.

She lamented that the Deputy Commissioner’s office is even refusing to issue movement passes for the councillors, “who want to understand issues and demands of the locals”.

The LAHDC-L has 30 councillors, with 26 elected directly by locals.

Meanwhile, official sources said the UT administration has promised special buses for Ladakhi students stranded in northern part of the country.

BJP chief quits

The protest comes just a day after BJP president for Ladakh Chering Dorjay submitted his resignation as a mark of protest.

“The UT administration is utterly insensitive and callous about the pathetic conditions of our stranded people. I feel pained the way locals are treated shabbily and with disrespect by the UT administrators,” Mr. Dorjay wrote in his resignation letter.

Pandits unhappy

Meanwhile, Satish Mahaldar, chairman of the Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitations of Migrants, on Monday said the central government’s motto of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas” had given the beleaguered community of Kashmiri Pandits hope “but the community till date has not seen a concrete policy”.

“There is no concrete policy that talks about our economic upliftment, educational and constitutional guarantees and our return to the Valley. Even this year’s budget, J&K Budget 2020, does not have anything for our physical and economic rehabilitation, relief and welfare. We feel that we have been betrayed,” said Mr. Mahaldar.

Mr. Mahaldar’s organisation has written to the Prime Minister “about their apprehensions”.

“Till date not a single Kashmiri Pandit youth has been included in any sports quota, MGNREGA etc. No reservation has been granted in the professional colleges of J&K since last 30 years. We want 20% seats quota should be reserved for Kashmiri Pandits migrants in all professional colleges of J&K,” he said.

He said almost six years have passed for the Modi-led government, but no proposal has been made by Government of India to return and rehabilitate the Kashmiri Pandits in the valley.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 1:52:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/stranded-ladakhis-ignored-say-councillors/article31505411.ece

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