Ladakh groups protest in Delhi, demand statehood, sixth schedule status
The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions
Slogans demanding statehood for Ladakh and inclusion under the sixth schedule were raised at the Jantar Mantar on Wednesday as a joint protest was held by the Leh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance in the national capital.
The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.
The Indian Express explains in its report, "ADCs have up to 30 members with a term of five years, and can make laws, rules and regulations with regard to land, forest, water, agriculture, village councils, health, sanitation, village- and town-level policing, inheritance, marriage and divorce, social customs and mining, etc. The Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam is an exception with more than 40 members and the right to make laws on 39 issues."
"Our traditions, ethnic identity, resources and security are at stake today. Our demand is very simple, we want democracy to be restored in Ladakh by giving it statehood, and to be brought under the sixth schedule of Constitution," said Thupstan Chhewang, a former BJP MP who resigned in 2018 accusing the party of not fulfilling promises made to the people of Ladakh.
He said Ladakh is an ecologically sensitive area and development activities without consulting locals will be harmful.
"A big solar power project has been planned, but the area earmarked is the area of nomadic people who are known for producing Pashmina. It will displace them because their rich pastures will go. In addition, it will also impact the environment in the area," he said.
"If the people of Ladakh have a say in the decision making, we will decide what kind of industries should be set up," he said.
Environmental activist and educator Sonam Wangchuk accused the BJP of reneging on its promise of including Ladakh under the sixth schedule.
"In 2020, when Hill Council elections were held, the BJP had promised sixth schedule status. We are very thankful to the BJP as they gave Union Territory status to Ladakh... Was it a promise or not? Does the election manifesto mean anything or not," he said.
"We made them win the Hill Council, they deserved it because they gave us a Union Territory. It was a promise, then they went silent on it, and now it is a crime to even talk about it. If youth in Ladakh speak of the sixth schedule, they are detained," he said.
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