ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Formation of the Union Territory of Ladakh

One Year After

The response of people of Ladakh to the formation of the union territory, as it has manifested one year later, is analysed. After an initial sense of satisfaction to their long-pending demand for UT status, people in Leh have become as restless as the people in Kargil to the changes resulting from their UT status, and there are a lot of anxieties related to lack of representation and concerns related to jobs, land, environment and heritage.

One year after being granted the status of union territory (UT), Ladakh has been passing through a phase of anxiety. The first anniversary of the UT that fell on 31 October 2020, was marked by protests in Kargil district, with leaders calling it Black Day. From day one, Kargil has been protesting the reorganisation of Ladakh as a UT and the severance of its relationship with Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The political class here has been voicing various concerns not only about the implications of the reorganisation on the people of Ladakh, but also about the relationship between Kargil and Leh.

Protests here on the completion of one year, were predictable. But what was not predictable was the response of Leh, which has been demanding UT status for the last four decades now. This district, which had witnessed massive celebrations last year, did not reflect much enthusiasm this year. The mood of this Buddhist majority district was reflected in September 2020, as prominent political and religious leaders of Leh called for the boycott of the scheduled polls for Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) of Leh. Demanding constitutional protections for Ladakh, these leaders belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) formed the Peoples Movement for Sixth Schedule for Ladakh. It was only on the assurance of the home minister of India that the concerns of Ladakh would be met by the Government of India, that the hill council elections could be held, albeit on a rescheduled date.

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Published On : 15th Feb, 2024

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