Sixth Schedule Demand|Peoples Movement Leh in Delhi, to meet Home Minister today

The Apex Body of Peoples Movement for 6th Schedule for Ladakh, an amalgam of various social, political and religious organisations of Leh spearheading the agitation for constitutional safeguards to Ladakh is in New Delhi to meet Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday.

According to sources, the delegation of the apex body headed by veteran political leader and former Member of Parliament Thupstan Chhewang, comprising several veteran political leaders, heads of the socio-religious organisations, student unions and newly-elected Chief Executive Councillor LAHDC (Leh) reached Delhi on Monday on a call from Home Minister Amit Shah.

They were scheduled to meet the home minister on Tuesday. However, sources said that due to some reasons, the meeting was postponed at the eleventh hour and would now take place on Wednesday.

A senior leader, who is part of the delegation in Delhi, confirmed to Greater Kashmir that the meeting was postponed and would now be held on Wednesday.

The meeting is seen as a crucial one to break the ice on the 6th Schedule demand for Ladakh by the apex body. However, the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) is not part of the delegation.

The delegation comprised 11 members including Thupstan Chhewang, former two-time Lok Sabha member from Ladakh, Tashi Gyalson, Chief Executive Councilor (CEC) Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, Jamyang Tsering Namgayal, Lok Sabha member from Ladakh, LBA Youth Wing president Konchok Ishey, Anjuman Moin-Ul-Islam President Abdul Qayum, Anjuman Imamiya President Ashraf Ali, Christian community leader Dechen Chambga, Ladakh Gonpa Association President Shatup Chamba, former Rajya Sabha member Thiksay Khanpo Rinpoche, former minister Chering Dorje Lakrook and student leader Jigmet Paljor.

Talking to the Greater Kashmir over phone, KDA Co-chairman Qamar Ali Akhoon said that they did not join the delegation as their agenda was entirely different from that of Leh’s apex body.

“The KDA which comprises various political parties, social, religious, youth and student organisations of Kargil has decided to demand a separate state for Ladakh and restoration of special status which Ladakh enjoyed when it was part of Jammu and Kashmir,” Akhoon said.

He said they had not received any invitation from Shah for talks.

“We had no direct invitation from the Home Ministry. Moreover, our demands are different from that of Leh. So, we decided not to join delegation of the Leh’s apex body,” he said.

The people of Ladakh are demanding safeguards for their land, jobs, culture, identity, language and geography, which had been assured by the Union Home Ministry.

The Apex Body of Peoples Movement for 6th Schedule for Ladakh comprising leaders of all political parties and religious organisations of Leh had given call for boycott of LAHDC Leh elections soon after they were announced in September. No candidate had filed nomination papers for elections after the boycott call. Home Minister Amit Shah had later called the apex body leaders for talks in New Delhi and assured to address their concerns including the Sixth Schedule-like status for Ladakh after election process for the LAHDC Leh was over. The BJP had won clear majority in the LAHDC Leh, securing 15 out of 26 seats, leaving Congress at second spot with nine seats.

The Union Home Ministry had promised all constitutional safeguards to the people of Ladakh enshrined in the Sixth Schedule of the Indian constitution either by implementing the Sixth Schedule or in any other form. It had said the decision would be taken in consultations with the representatives from Leh and Kargil.

The Home Ministry had also agreed to empowerment of hill development councils of Leh and Kargil, which was one of the demands projected by the delegation.