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Sixth Schedule for Ladakh: Will sustain campaign if hoodwinked by Centre, says ex-minister Chering Dorjay

Ladakh, if included in the Sixth Schedule of Constitution, will get a certain degree of autonomy in framing laws to protect the interests of indigenous people.
Hindustan Times, Jammu | By Ravi Krishnan Khajuria, Jammu
UPDATED ON SEP 28, 2020 07:54 PM IST

Though the Centre’s assurance to include Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule of Constitution has rekindled hope among the people of the Union Territory, former BJP minister and ex-president of the party’s Ladakh unit Chering Dorjay on Monday cautioned of a sustained campaign in case they were hoodwinked.

Apex Body of People’s Movement, an apolitical body having former BJP MP Thupstan Chhewang, Dorjay, Thiksay monastery head Rinpoche Nawang Chamba Stanzin and former minister Nawang Rigzin Jora as members, has been demanding constitutional safeguards under its Sixth Schedule to Ladakh on the lines of north-eastern states.

The umbrella group includes political parties and religious organisations and Leh-based Ladakh Buddhist Association.

The safeguards also guarantee more teeth to the two hill development councils of Leh and Kargil with legislative powers.

On Saturday, after Union home minister Amit Shah’s assurance over the same, the delegation withdrew its call to boycott the ensuing polls of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council.

Dorjay said, “Following home minster’s assurance, we have withdrawn the election boycott call. The assurance had to be verbal because of the model code of conduct and we have to trust him. But if the central government hoodwinks us, we will launch a sustained campaign and resorting to other modes of protest.”

“As per the home minister’s word, Ladakh will be brought under the Sixth Schedule within 15 days after the culmination of the hill development council polls. However, the exercise has to be preceded by participation of the representatives elected in the polls. We will also have to take the people of Kargil on board,” said Dorjay.

He informed that the apex body will visit Kargil in the next few days to have detailed discussion on the issue.

Dorjay said the Sixth Schedule also guarantees no settlement of outsiders.

“Outsiders purchasing land or property in the region is the main concern of the people here because Ladakh region has vast swathes of barren land which are vulnerable to human settlement. Eventually, trains will also reach Ladakh. Atal Tunnel has already come up and the Zojila Tunnel upon completion will provide easy connectivity to the region. Thus, apprehensions of the tribal people here are not unfounded,” he maintained.

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