Ganderbal: Leaders from Kargil on Thursday met Union Minister for State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy and demanded statehood for Ladakh and restoration of Article 370 and 35A.
This was their first meeting after bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.
The representatives of Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) an amalgam of various political, social, religious and students organisations were invited by the home ministry for the meeting.
Sources said that the meeting started at 11 am and lasted for two and a half hours.
The meeting came days after an All-party meeting of leaders from Jammu and Kashmir with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Talking to Greater Kashmir over phone from Delhi, senior Congress leader and Co-Chairman KDA, Asgar Ali Karbalai, said, "We demanded full statehood for Ladakh. Our members spoke with an open heart and Union Minister G Kishan Reddy also listened to us patiently and said that this is the first meeting and he will take forward all these things for further deliberations.”
He said the Union Minister further said that he will personally visit Kargil, Leh and “we will be called again but no date has been given. He assured us that the Centre is serious about the development of Ladakh and he will take our words to the Home Minister and the Prime Minister.”
"We,” he said, “had two clear agendas namely the restoration of Article 370 and 35A, and full-fledged statehood for Ladakh. We discussed these with the Union Home Ministry for two and a half hours. More meetings are to be followed to discuss this.”
Karbalaie said: “We raised the problems we are facing in Ladakh after the formation of Union Territory. We talked about our development. We raised problems of Kargil and Ladakh. After the abrogation of Article 370, we have talked about job security and demanded that we should be given statehood, 35A was protection for us.”
He said that they should be given statehood just as promised to Jammu and Kashmir.
National Conference leader and Chief executive Councillor LAHDC Kargil Feroz Ahmed Khan told Greater Kashmir that the meeting was held in a “cordial atmosphere” and the union minister gave a patient hearing to all the demands put forth by the members of the KDA.
Khan who was part of the 11-member delegation to meet Kishan Reddy, said that the delegation has been assured that there will be another meeting and further deliberations.
Khan said that the MoS Home assured of constituting of a committee comprising of Home Ministry, representatives of Leh and Kargil besides LAHDC Leh and LAHDC Kargil to hold further deliberations in this regard.
Notably, after the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated in 2019, J&K and Ladakh were designated as UTs, with former to have an assembly.
With New Delhi initiating the political process in Jammu and Kashmir, the Apex Body of Leh in Ladakh region Wednesday “deviated” from the demand of the 6th schedule and said that they will be asking for a Union Territory (UT) with a full-fledged legislature.
People’s Movement for 6th schedule Ladakh, known as Apex Body based in Leh district of the region is the combined group of the mainstream, religious people, students, elected representatives, and others. It was formed last year to demand special safeguards under the 6th schedule of the constitution.
The Apex Body managed to grab the attention of the central government after it called for a complete poll boycott ahead of the 6th general LAHDC elections in Leh district.
Notably, in January, the central government committed them to form a committee to be headed by MoS Home, G K Reddy to hold deliberations on possibilities of Ladakh’s inclusion into the 6th schedule.
On the other hand Kargil Democratic Alliance, an amalgam of various political, social and religious organisations, has from the beginning opposed the August 5, 2019 move of abrogation of Article 370, 35A and bifurcation of the erstwhile state Jammu and Kashmir.