The Kashmir based People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration whose main purpose is to restore Article 370, received a warm welcome in Kargil on Friday. It is a major setback to the Centre’s efforts to distance the Ladakhis from Kashmir’s political parties.
This was the first time when the seven-party alliance made its outreach to the neighboring UT. A local coalition of social, religious and political parties expressed their support to the alliance. Other than the Central government, the event was also shocking for the Buddhist dominated Leh which was trying to win the support of Muslim majority in Kargil to pressurize the Central government to grant the protection of the sixth schedule of the constitution.
The Centre has been trying to convince Ladakh that the bifurcation of the state and revocation of Article 370 has done more good to them but it seems like the message hasn’t reached them well. Friday’s incident suggests that Kargil wants to return to the Pre-August 5, 2019 era when it used to form a state with J&K.
A Congress leader from Kargil, Asgar Karbalai, said that the local leadership of Kargil has met a delegation led by National Conference leader, Omar Abdullah, and offered their support to the campaign. Asgar Karbalai, told the reporters that the People’s Alliance and the Kargil Alliance are led by a common cause of restoring Article 370 and they are not going to back off.
Ladakh is divided into two districts of Leh and Kargil. Leh has a Buddhist majority which supports the government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 but wants a sixth schedule protection.
Omar accused that the BJP is trying to divide the people of the erstwhile state on the basis of region and religion and he is open to the talks with the Buddhist leadership of the Leh. He said that they claim that “we are anti-nationals but our fight is against the BJP and not the country”.
Ladakh Buddhist Association President, P.T. Kunzang accused the Kargil leadership of sailing in two boats. He told The Telegraph that the Kargil leadership extends its support to the People’s Alliance and they also want to take all the benefits that come to Ladakh in the form of Schedule Tribe status or autonomous councils. “They have to choose one” he said.
Union Home Minister has already said that discussion with the Ladakhi delegation consisting of representatives from Leh and Kargil under the aegis of Peoples Movement for Constitutional Safeguard under the 6th Schedule would commence after 15 days of the culmination of LAHDC polls. Result for the polls was declared on October 26 and a meeting is expected anytime soon. However it would be interesting to see the stand Kargil before the Home Ministry.