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Why Leh and Kargil district of Ladakh are divided over 6th Schedule

Last Updated on September 28, 2020 at 9:20 pm

On 5th August 2019, Home minister Amit Shah announced the revocation of Article 370 and 35A which gave special rights to the then state of Jammu and Kashmir, everyone was concerned about Kashmir.

Let alone the national media, it drew the attention of international media too and rightfully so. But another area which was ignored by almost everybody: Ladakh which was also equally affected by the announcement. 

The state of Jammu and Kashmir was no longer valid and in its place, the area was divided into two union territories: Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. But the problem of locals remained. They complained that earlier in the state system they had to rely on the Jammu and Kashmir’s permission for making the decisions concerning their area according to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Develepment Council (LAHDC) Act.

When the Ladakh was made a Union Territory, central government promised the LAHDC that their administrative powers will be enhanced. But the Council complains that more than one year has been passed but still, nothing of significance has been done yet. 

Another problem was that the Article 35A barred outsiders from buying land and becoming a permanent resident of J&K. When it was removed, it left the people of Ladakh vulnerable to outsiders who can negatively influence their culture. For this, people of the arid desert demanded 6th Schedule to preserve their culture and environment.

When the angst of all this mounted up, then leaders of AAP, BJP and Congress announced their boycott of elections to the LAHDC. In the recent times, the demand for the sixth schedule of the constitution has gained momentum. The provision has special provisions and is there in tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Leaders of Ladakh want their area to be included in it too. It provides greater autonomy to the council so that they can frame their laws for themselves easily and stop outsiders from buying their land.

However the political leaders of Kargil have a different take on the issue. Leaders from Kargil say that was the leaders of Leh district who agitated for the sixth schedule of the constitution and not them.

Kargil’s influential leader, Asgar Ali Karbalai claimed that the people demanding protection under the 6th Schedule should realize that the Article 35A that was abrogated by the central 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.