While the mood of people is upbeat in the Buddhist dominated Leh following Home minister Amit Shah’s commitment towards safeguarding the interests of Ladakhis, the leaders in the Shia Muslim dominated Kargil district are cold towards the former’s demand for 6th Schedule for Ladakh.
Leh and Kargil are the only two districts of the union territory (UT) of Ladakh that has been carved out after splitting the Jammu and Kashmir state into two UTs. The political leaders of Kargil said that they did not participate in the agitation for the 6th Schedule for Ladakh and it was launched only by political, social and religious groups of Leh district.
“We have not supported abrogation of Article 370 by the Modi government”, said a leader of Kargil.
The Shia Muslim dominated district was facing discrimination at the level of the government and BJP, he added.
They are, however, satisfied with the Home minister announcing that representatives of Kargil will also be taken on board during the dialogue on the issue. But we will highlight in the meeting how Kargil was being discriminated, a leader said.
Former chairman of the J&K Legislative Council, Anayat Ali, who had left the PDP and joined the BJP, was critical about the “discriminatory” attitude of the central government and the Ladakh UT administration towards Kargil.
“Sixth Schedule is a very big issue, let them first resolve our small grievances of discrimination vis-à-vis Leh”, Anayat Ali told The Statesman when contacted on phone at Kargil.
Another prominent leader of Kargil, Asgar Ali Karbalai pointed out that the people demanding protection under the 6th Schedule should realize that the Article 35A that was abrogated by the Modi government was providing protection of land, employment, culture, identity etc to Ladakh.
“We are against the imposition of the new system of UT on us. UT status for Ladakh was the demand of only people of Leh belonging to a particular community and Kargil never demanded this”, he said.
If the centre wants to empower the people of Ladakh which is a strategic area touching China on one side and Pakistan on the other then instead of 6th Schedule the centre should grant statehood to Ladakh so that we are in a position to make our own laws by exercising the executive powers. Karbalai was upset over the “media and bureaucracy” projecting as if Leh represents the entire Ladakh.
Anayat Ali said that our foremost demand is removal of discrimination with Kargil. Neither the Lt. Governor nor any central minister or top bureaucrat has visited Kargil ever-since Ladakh became a UT last year.
The central ministers confine their visits to Leh.