Attempts On To Polarise Ladakh Voters But People Firm On 6th Schedule Demand: Anjuman Imamia Chief

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Leh, May 15: Attempts are being made to polarise voters in Ladakh but they will not budge from their demand of statehood and implementation of the 6th Schedule of the Constitution, the chief of prominent Leh-based Islamic organisation Anjuman Imamia has said.

The four-point agenda of the people of Ladakh which also includes a public service commission for Ladakh and separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil districts remains in focus as the Union territory heads to polls on May 20, Ashraf Ali Barcha added. The 6th Schedule of the Constitution guarantees land and jobs for locals.

Barcha is also a member of the Leh Apex Body, which along with the Kargil Democratic Alliance, has been spearheading an agitation to demand statehood for Ladakh and its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule. The organisations have been part of the deliberations with the Union Home Ministry.

In the fray for the lone Lok Sabha seat in Ladakh are the Congress’ Tsering Namgyal and the BJP’s Tashi Gyalson, both from Leh, and Independent candidate from Kargil Haji Hanifa Jan.

Ladakh’s transition into a Union Territory following the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 has catalysed divergent reactions in the region. While celebrations marked the response in Leh, Kargil witnessed a contrasting sentiment marked by dissatisfaction with the territorial restructuring. While Leh is a Buddhist-dominated district, Kargil has a majority population of Shia Muslims.
Although Bracha claimed that attempts were being made to create polarisation, he did not name any party or individual.

“Political parties may try to exploit the situation, but people are watching who is raising our issue,” he said.
“People of Leh may vote for Kargil and people of Kargil may vote for Leh. Some parties are trying to create polarisation but I do not think people will go for it. People will not deviate from their issues,” he said.

Bracha also pointed out at that the Congress’ manifesto promises implementation of the Sixth Schedule and that Jan, the Independent candidate from Kargil, is also raising these issues, singling out the BJP.

“The picture is clear on what people want,” he said.
Bracha said all communities of Ladakh are united over the four-point demand and stressed that the government should not overlook the wishes of the people in the area. Ladkah shares borders with both Pakistan and China.

“We urged the government to give us safeguard. We want to save the environment, provide employment to youths. It is a border area, if people are unhappy, it will also be a security concern,” he added.
“So far, in all wars, locals have stood by the forces. We want neither China nor Pakistan, whether Buddhist or Muslims, India is our country and it is in our DNA that we have to protect this area with the Army,” Bracha said.
“If it is a UT without any safeguard, anyone will come, and our values, which is also in the interest of the country, will be destroyed. Outsiders will not even know where the border is,” he said.

Ladakh holds the distinction of being India’s largest constituency in terms of area. It will go to polls in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha election. (Agencies)

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