It has been over 50 days since the Centre has been struggling to contain the violence in the Kashmir Valley, and it seems like Ladakh has finally had enough. As all the political heavyweights are focussing on bringing the peace back to the Valley, demands of secession is gaining ground in Ladakh.
Ladakh MP Writes Letter to PM
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP MP from Ladakh Thupstan Chhewang has raised the demand for granting Union Territory status with legislature to Ladakh.
Chhewang has been one of the oldest faces of the campaign demanding UT status for Ladakh. In the letter to Prime Minister, Chhewang wrote that the unrest in Kashmir Valley has stifled the Ladakh’s growth.
We feel stifled at the moment because of the present ongoing senseless violence in a part of the State. It is shocking that we have not been involved in any debate or discussion, held both at the State and Central level, for finding a clue to the continuing impasse in the Valley.Thupstan Chhewang, MP, Ladakh
We Want an Unambiguous Relationship with India: Chhewang
Chhewang has also wrote in his letter that people demanding UT status for Ladakh are not ‘separatists’ but want to secede from Jammu and Kashmir for a better relationship with India.
If those at the helm think that we are ‘separatists’ and hence can be ignored, then let it be so. Yes, we are ‘separatists’ in the sense that we want to secede from Jammu and Kashmir for an unambiguous relationship with our great nation. Why should we continue to pay a heavy price for their violence of thought and action?Thupstan Chhewang, MP, Ladakh
Ladakh is a strategically important part of India as the region shares its borders with China and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Chhewang has brought this fact to the notice of Modi through his letter, stating:
We feel that with full attention of state and Central governments in particular and political parties in general focussed on the valley, the security of Ladakh and its people is likely to be jeopardised. We live next door to hostile neighbours Pakistan and China, both of which lose no chance to harass us and our country. It is not a comfortable thought that one or both of them may target us at a time of their choosing, as one did in Kargil in 1999.
Article 370 Needs to be Repealed to Grant UT Status to Ladakh
Chhewang claims that the people of Ladakh are getting restless and they do not want to live as a part of Kashmir since it is not suitable from a security point of view, according to a Hindustan Times report.
An attempt is being made to form a coalition of all political parties in Ladakh to create a front that would push for UT status.Thupstan Chhewang, MP, Ladakh
The principal opposition party at the Centre – the Congress – also indicated its support for granting UT status to Ladakh. However, during its tenure of coalition government with National Conference, the suggestion was turned down.
Chhewang is likely to raise the issue at the national executive meeting of BJP in Kerala. He will also request the Centre to set a deadline for repealing Article 370, as it is a prerequisite for granting UT status to Ladakh.
The compromises that it (BJP) has made after its alliance with PDP has disillusioned us. Article 370 abrogation has been put on the back burner; it seems they (BJP) will also do what the other political parties have done.Thupstan Chhewang, MP, Ladakh