Amidst a shutdown on Saturday in the union territory (UT) of Ladakh in support of the demand of statehood and constitutional safeguards under the 6th Schedule for the tribal area, the union minister of state for Home, Nityanand Rai, who happened to be in Leh, invited the striking leaders for talks.
A near-complete shutdown was observed in the main bazaars of Leh and Kargil on the call of leaders of the Buddhist dominated Leh and Shia Muslim dominated Kargil districts. To defuse the situation, the minister invited the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) and Apex Body of Leh for talks.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and a couple of ministers had come to Leh in connection with official functions when the leaders of Leh and Kargil stepped up their protest.
A meeting of the Apex Body was held on Friday under the chairmanship of the Thupstan Chhewang and leaders of various other organizations, including Ladakh Gonpa Association, political parties, representatives of the religious organizations, Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), Anjuman Imamia, Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam, Christian Community, Panchayat Coordination Committee Leh and the Representatives of the women and student organizations attended the meeting.
It was unanimously decided to observe a full day Shutdown on Saturday to protest against the Ministry of Home Affairs “delaying the dialogue process” between the joint delegation proposed by the Apex Body and KDA.
It is worth mentioning that the BJP has disassociated from these leaders on the demand of statehood.
Leaders of the Leh and Kargil districts spearheading the agitation are also demanding recruitment only for locals and separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil. The UT at present has only one seat in the Parliament.