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Ladakh leaders meet PM, seek protection of land, jobs

JAMMU: Political and religious leaders from Ladakh today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprised him of the growing concerns of local people with regard to the protection of their land, jobs and unique culture after the region was granted the Union Territory (UT) status.

Arteev Sharma

Tribune News Service

JAMMU, December 6

Political and religious leaders from Ladakh today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprised him of the growing concerns of local people with regard to the protection of their land, jobs and unique culture after the region was granted the Union Territory (UT) status.

Sources told The Tribune that the leaders, while expressing their gratitude to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and all other prominent leaders of the NDA government for fulfilling their 71-year-long pending and the genuine demand of Ladakhi people by granting the Union Territory status to the region, told the Prime Minister that there were apprehensions among the people of Ladakh with regard to the protection of their land, jobs and identity.

“The leaders submitted a draft prepared by them, highlighting various issues pertaining to Ladakh. The major demands in the charter of demands include the inclusion of Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, strengthening of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Kargil and Leh districts, opening of the Kailash Mansarovar road via Ladakh’s Demchok for pilgrims, expansion of the Kargil airport and early completion of Zojila tunnel,” sources said.

Sources said the Prime Minister, who was preoccupied with another programme, listened to the delegation for a brief period and asked the Ladakhi leaders “to work for the welfare of people”.

While the Member of Parliament (MP) from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, who led the leaders, claimed that a joint delegation of prominent leaders representing various religious and ethnic groups of Leh and Kargil districts of the Ladakh region met the Prime Minister, leaders in Kargil claimed that it was completely a “BJP show” and they would make a request to the PMO, seeking a meeting with the Prime Minister soon.

Haji Anayat Ali, BJP leader from Kargil, claimed that they did not meet the Prime Minister and sought a fresh appointment with him. He said he had met the Defence Minister and other leaders as BJP leader and he was not the part of the “joint delegation”.

Ladakhi leaders also met the Speaker Lok Saba Om Birla, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy and expressed their gratitude to NDA government for having restored the identity, dignity and liberty of Ladakh.

“We are feeling truly liberated for the first time after 1836 when Ladakh lost its independent kingdom,” they said.

In an official handout, Namgyal, however, refuted the reports regarding the non-consultation of Kargil leaders and political parties of Ladakh and claimed that he, along with all leaders who were present in this delegation, had personally made phone calls to leaders in Kargil, but they couldn’t attend meetings for their personal reasons.

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