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'All Not Well in Ladakh': Sonam Wangchuk Appeals to PM Modi, Will Sit on Fast

Wangchuk, also known as the real-life Phunsukh Wangdu from '3 Idiots', made the appeal through a video message.

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Sonam Wangchuk, known for his work towards educational reforms, on Saturday, 21 January, made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a video titled "All is not well in Ladakh. Ladakh ki mann ki baat."

What does Wangchuk say in the video? Wangchuk, who is referred to as the "real-life Phunsukh Wangdu – the character played by Aamir Khan in the film 3 Idiots, praised PM Modi for banning the use of single-use plastic, especially at a time when several world leaders have been criticised for their role in environmental degradation.

However, he says that Ladakh is facing dire concerns, and cites protests surrounding the 6th Schedule of the Constitution. Several local bodies and youths have been demanding autonomy for the Union Territory under the 6th Schedule to ensure economic development and independent decision-making.

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"Ladakh has nearly 95 per cent of tribal population while the Constitution seeks 50 per cent of tribal population in an area for applicability of 6th Schedule. Anticipations were being made that Ladakh would soon be included. Minister Arjun Munda had also given assurances," Wangchuk is heard saying in the 13-minute-long video.

He also speaks about the 2020 Ladakh Hill Council elections, which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won, and said that the party had promised to safeguard Ladakh's autonomy under the 6th Schedule in its manifesto.

"People of Ladakh are stunned that why the government that answered its 70-year old demand for a union territory has not been heeding this demand," Wangchuk said.

He also say that business activities in Ladakh could impact the environment further, especially considering the scarcity of water. "Mining and such activities could melt glaciers. Moreover, Ladakh is strategically important for military and has played a role in Kargil and other wars."

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5-day fast at Khardung La pass: Wangchuk then appeals to to PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to participate in discussions regarding Ladakh. He also says that he will hold a fast for a period of five days, starting from Republic Day, at the Khardung La pass at 18,000 ft, where the temperature drops to minus 40 degrees Celsius.

"If I survive, I will see you," he says while ending the video.

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Topics:  Ladakh   Sonam Wangchuk 

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