ANI Photo | Congress takes on Centre on Ladakh statehood ask PM to break silence

Amid climate activist Sonam Wangchuk’s hunger strike in support of statehood for the Union Territory of Ladakh, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh on Thursday said that the people of Ladakh have been protesting in large numbers against Modi Sarkar’s heavy-handed ‘rule by bureaucracy’.
In a post on X, Jairam said that since the Prime Minister has put off his Bhutan photo-ops today, we hope he can devote some time to Ladakh.
“Since February 3rd, when there was a complete shutdown of Ladakh by the locals, the people of Ladakh have been protesting in large numbers against the Modi Sarkar’s heavy handed ‘rule by bureaucracy,’ which has made a mockery of local elected institutions. The courageous environmental activist Sonam Wangchuk has brought the agony of the people of Ladakh to national and global attention,” he said on X.
Further, the Congress leader mentioned that the demand which the Ladakh people are posing is what the BJP had promised in its manifesto in the 2019 lok Sabha elections and 2020 Ladakh Hill Council Polls.
“The people of Ladakh are demanding constitutional safeguards for the Union Territory of Ladakh, including statehood and inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Incidentally, the BJP had promised Ladakh’s inclusion in the Sixth Schedule in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections and the 2020 Ladakh Hill Council Polls. Does the Prime Minister have any intention of upholding his “Modi ki guarantee?” If not, why did he make the promise in the first place? Ten years after he first took office, why is this issue still pending?” Jairam asked.
He pointed out that on August 5th, 2019, by converting Ladakh into a separate Union Territory without a legislative assembly, the Modi Sarkar closed the possibilities of any self-government for the people of Ladakh.
“What vision did the Prime Minister have for Ladakh when he declared it a separate Union Territory? Were the people of Ladakh ever consulted during the development of this vision?” he said.
The Congress general secretary further alleged that under Prime Minister Modi’s governance, India has lost prime pastureland in the Changthang plains in the north of Ladakh to Chinese encroachment. In addition to a national security crisis, this is also a serious socioeconomic issue for the nomads of Ladakh.
“The Prime Minister, however, gave a clean chit to China on June 19th, 2020, at the all-party meet on China, when he declared that not a single Chinese soldier had crossed over into Indian territory. Two possibilities remain: either the people of Ladakh were lying when they claimed that their lands had been encroached upon by the Chinese PLA, or the Prime Minister of India was lying to the nation when he gave his clean chit to China,” he added.
Jairam Ramesh also highlighted that the proposed Ladakh Industrial Land Allotment Policy 2023 has suggested single-window clearance committees that have only government officials and an industry representative — no Council members, no civil society groups, and no panchayat representatives are part of these committees.
“The document does not even lay out the environmental or cultural criteria for considering an industrial project, nor does it provide for any public consultation. In a sensitive ecosystem such as Ladakh, in a region populated by nomadic tribes and other sensitive demographic groups, what is the cynical motive that underlines this proposed Land Allotment Policy? Is it yet another attempt by the Prime Minister to favour his industrialist friends at the cost of the people?” Jairam Ramesh asked

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