ASAD ASHRAF | 1 NOVEMBER, 2019
First UT Day: Protests In Kargil Against ‘Discrimination’
NEW DELHI/ KARGIL: As Ladakh acquired its new identity as a Union Territory, thousands of people marched on the streets of Kargil against what they said was discriminatory distribution of power. The protestors also reiterated their demand for the restoration of statehood for the entire region again.
The new Union Territory of Ladakh as per the reorganization of the state is divided into two districts, Kargil, and Leh. The protestors said that the government at the centre has already started discriminating between the two districts favouring Leh over Kargil.
Speaking to the Citizen, Sajjad Kargili, a political activist from Kargil, said that in the reorganization of the state, most of the important centers of power have been allocated to the Leh region, and Kargil has been ignored completely.
“Joint Action Committee demanded a rotational headquarter of UT Ladakh as Leh and Kargil to the Lieutenant Governor, who visited Kargil on August 30 2019, shortly after the state was bifurcated post-dissolution of Article 370. The governor had assured the people of Kargil for the same but now they have made a U-turn. We wanted a rotational headquarter for the UT apart from 14 other prominent points. But now that the details are out, we have come to know that all centres of power and education have been given to Leh. This includes the Cricket Academy, Medical College and District Headquarter,” he said.
However, many among the protestors also raised slogans demanding restoration of full statehood to the region and called the division of Jammu and Kashmir as ‘murder of democracy’.
“I believe that the division of the state is a murder of democracy and is constitutionally illegal. I along with many of my supporters in the Kargil region will not just fight for the rights of the district, but also continue to struggle against bifurcation and restoration of full statehood. I don’t see any scope in this UT and those who look at it as victory will also acknowledge this as the darkest phase of our history in the near future,” Kargili added.
The 14 point demands that were earlier handed over to the Lieutenant Governor on August 30 by JAC, Kargil, included the safeguard of land, cultural identity, employment, proportionate development and equal political representation at par with neighboring Leh. Former MLA and senior Congress leader, Asghar Karbalai, who was also present at the demonstration told the media that to implement the BJPs agenda, the government has bifurcated the state leaving no guaranteed safeguards for us and our future generations”. This he said was “highly deplorable”.
“As of now Kargil is protesting but sooner or later, people of Leh will also realize that they have been duped. They have been given political lollipops veiled in a communal agenda. This will not be accepted by the people of this region who are wise enough to realize the shrewd methods of the ruling dispensation in Delhi” Karbalai said.
The three-day-long protest that culminated at Lal Chowk Kargil Thursday, saw thousands of locals observing the first day of Union Territory of Ladakh as a ‘Black Day.