LAHDC resolution on constitutional safeguards to Ladakh's identity faces opposition

Greater Kashmir

Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh on Thursday moved a resolution demanding constitutional safeguards under 6th schedule or Article 371 of constitution.

A source said an extraordinary General Council meeting of the Council was held to debate and discuss on a resolution for constitutional safeguard for land, employment, environment and cultural resources of the indigenous people of Ladakh, under 6th Schedule or Article 371 or domicile law.

“Owing to Ladakh’s distinct socio-cultural aspect, its strategic location and fragile ecosystem, the general public cutting across all sections of society have been demanding ‘constitutional safeguards’ for protection of land, employment, environment, business and culture. Therefore keeping in view the aspirations of people of Ladakh, I would like to move the resolution that Union Territory of Ladakh be granted constitutional safeguards for land, employment, environment, business and culture resources either, under 6th schedule or Article 371 or Domicile Act to protect the tribal rights of indigenous people of Ladakh” reads the resolution moved by Deputy Chairman LAHDC Leh Tsering Samdup.

However, Congress Councilors who were present in the meeting, staged a walkout to oppose the move. The Councilors later demanded that the constitutional safeguards only under 6th schedule should be granted and nothing else was acceptable to people of Ladakh.

“This is totally unacceptable to the people of Ladakh. The move by the BJP majority Council to demand Article 317 and domicile Act law will be opposed as there is no need for such laws in the Union Territory of Ladakh. In the best interest of the people and region, the constitutional safeguards under 6th schedule should be granted,” said Congress Councilor Tsering Namgyal.

Meanwhile the district Congress committee Leh later also passed a resolution opposing the move by the LAHDC Leh.

Congress leader, Rigzin Spalbar said people of Ladakh were demanding constitutional safeguards and strengthening of the already existing Hill Councils in Leh and Kargil, to ensure protection of the identity, land, jobs and culture of the region.

Asserting that ‘domicile’ law was not acceptable to them, he said, “We are in favour of issuance of indigenous certificate which will differentiate between a local and a non-local.”

Chief Executive Councillor, LAHDC, Kargil Feroz Ahmed Khan said they will call a General Council meeting of to discuss the issue. Senior National Conference leader from Kargil, Qamar Ali Akhoon said they have already rejected any such moves, adding that a resolution passed earlier states that Kargil wants to be a part of J&K Aam Aadmi Party’s Leh Unit has also opposed the resolution by LAHDC Leh.