Leh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance, an amalgam of trade unions, social, political and religious groups from Ladakh, are set to hold a protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Wednesday to raise demand of statehood for the Union Territory.
Ladakh became a Union Territory, along with Jammu and Kashmir, when Article 370 and 35 A were abrogated on August 5, 2019. While Jammu and Kashmir is a UT with legislature, Ladakh does not have any provision for it.
The two groups, which came together with a set of demands for Ladakh, will hold a daylong protest in the national capital on Wednesday, activist and politician Sajjad Hussain told PTI.
"When Ladakh was made a Union Territory, we were promised development. However, it's been four years and we cannot see any development happening," Hussain told PTI.
"Leh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance are holding a joint protest. We are raising a four point agenda, under which our demands are statehood for Ladakh, sixth schedule under Constitution, job reservation, a separate Public Service Commission for Ladakh, and two parliamentary seats for Leh and Kargil," he said.
Ladakh-based activist and educator Sonam Wangchuk, who had recently gone on a five-day 'climate fast', to 'save Ladakh', said the protest is being held in Delhi so that their voice reaches the government.
"We raised our voice from Ladakh, but no one has reached out to us yet. Perhaps our voice did not reach them, so we have come to Delhi to hold a protest," Wangchuk told PTI.
"We have been talking to the government, but in the last three years, the process has stagnated. I did a symbolic protest by holding a fast, we were hoping the government will call us for discussions at least. Sadly, no invitation has been given so far," he said.
"It is our duty as citizens to raise our voice and the duty of the government to listen to us," Wangchuk added.
The Leh-based Ladakh Apex Body of People's Movement for 6th Schedule and Kargil Democratic Alliance are the bodies from the two regions of Ladakh which have been demanding statehood.
The LAB and KDA, both representing different social and religious groups from the two regions of Ladakh - Leh and Kargil, joined hands to forward their demands in August 2021.
In January this year, the home ministry constituted a high-powered committee headed by Minister of State Nityanand Rai to “ensure protection of land and employment” for the people of Ladakh.
The two bodies, however, rejected the committee, and decided not to attend any meeting conducted under its aegis, saying the mandate of the committee did not mention the issues raised by them.
"Both bodies decided not to attend the meetings until the agenda is fixed and composition of the committee is redone," Hussain said.
"People are concerned about their cultural identity, political representation as well as job security," he added.
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