Unease in Ladakh

Greater Kashmir

The People’s Movement for 6th Schedule for Ladakh – a body of various political, religious and social organizations – is meeting on Wednesday amid worries that the new land laws allowing people from outside J&K to buy land in the Union territory, might be extended to the mountainous region as well.

Senior politician and former minister Chering Dorjey said the body will meet to discuss the issue threadbare. “There is no clarity whether Ladakh Union territory has been exempted from these land laws. This will be discussed tomorrow” Dorjey said.

He said people of Ladakh need protection to land and jobs. “We could easily be reduced to a minority if outsiders are allowed to apply for jobs or buy land here,” he said.

Congress leader and former minister Nawang Rigzin Jora said if the land laws are extended to the Union Territory it will be a “betrayal” with people who have been demanding constitutional safeguards under 6th Schedule.

The body had called for a complete poll boycott of ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council elections in Leh, demanding protection under the sixth Schedule.

The leaders later met Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss their demand for a Bodoland Territorial Council-like arrangement in the Union Territory.

They called off the boycott call after the Centre assured them their demand regarding 6th Schedule will be considered, 15 days after the culmination of the elections.

The Sixth Schedule allows separate arrangements for tribal-designated areas, restricting ownership of land and government jobs to local residents only.

Union Minister of State, Kiren Rijiju had during poll campaign in Leh said people in Ladakh wanted “protection of language, ethnicity, demography, land and jobs of indigenous people,” saying the Centre has agreed to safeguard ways to protect the interests of people of Ladakh, looking at all means.