Ready for unconditional talks with Centre: Ladakh groups

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Kargil, May 23 : Softening their stand, the groups demanding statehood and sixth schedule in Ladakh Union Territory  on Tuesday said that they are ready to hold unconditional talks with New Delhi but will not give up their four-point agenda.

Addressing a news conference in Kargil after holding a joint meeting, leaders of the Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) today said that they were always ready to hold talks with the Government of India.

Co-chairman of Kargil Democratic Alliance Asgar Ali Karbalai, as per the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), said that they are committed to their four-point demand which includes full-fledged statehood for Ladakh, 6th schedule, separate Lok Sabha seats for Kargil and Leh districts and jobs for the educated youth of Ladakh.

He said that in today’s meeting, Leh Apex Body and KDA have decided that they are ready to hold talks with the Government of India. “We have never run away from holding talks with the government on our agenda,” he said.

He said the Government of India should initiate concrete steps to hold talks with the LAB and KDA. “No recruitment should take place without Ladakh Resident Certificate,” he added.

On Ladakh MP Jamyang Namgyal’s claim that granting of 6th Schedule would weaken Hill Councils, former MP and chairman of LAB Thupstan Chewang said the Hill Councils will not be disempowered by the 6th Schedule.

"We know it is only the 6th schedule that can provide safeguards to Ladakh," he said while advising BJP MP Jamyang Namgyal to properly go through provisions of the schedule.

He said the powers have been taken away from Hill Councils after grant of UT status to Ladakh.

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