“Ladakh’s Call for Statehood: Shutdown Echoes Demands as High-Powered Committee Engages in Dialogue”

1. Ladakh Divisions Unite for Shutdown on February 3

The divisions of Leh and Kargil in Ladakh are set to observe a shutdown on February 3, standing united in their demands for Ladakh’s Statehood, job reservations for locals, and parliamentary seats for Leh and Kargil.

2. Core Demands Amplified in Shutdown

The shutdown serves as a collective voice amplifying four crucial demands: Ladakh’s statehood, inclusion in the sixth schedule for tribal status, job reservations for locals, and the allocation of parliamentary seats for both Leh and Kargil.

3. Union Home Ministry Initiates Dialogue

A day before the planned shutdown, the Union Home Ministry has taken a proactive step by inviting civil society leaders from Ladakh for the second round of high-powered committee dialogue on February 19. This signifies a commitment to addressing the region’s concerns.

4. Committee Reconstituted for Effective Dialogue

The high-powered committee, led by Minister of State (Home) Nityanand Rai, was reconstituted on November 30, 2023, after the initial committee faced rejection from the Leh Apex Body (LAB) and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) in January 2023.

5. Constitutional Safeguards in Focus

During the committee’s first meeting on December 4, a historic shift occurred as the delegation agreed to examine the demand for Ladakh’s “constitutional safeguards.” This development indicates a willingness to address the region’s unique concerns.

6. Key Issues Raised in Initial Meeting

In the December 4 meeting, the Ladakh delegation raised crucial issues such as local disempowerment, a trust deficit in the name of development, job reservations, electoral representation, and tribal status for the Union Territory.

7. Ministry Urges Restraint During Talks

Officials from the Ministry urged Ladakh leaders not to engage in protests or agitations during the ongoing official talks. This request underscores the importance of maintaining a conducive environment for productive dialogue.

8. Next Committee Meeting Scheduled

The next round of committee discussions is scheduled for February 19 in Delhi, as conveyed in a letter by the Ministry. This ongoing engagement reflects the government’s commitment to addressing Ladakh’s aspirations.

9. ‘Leh Chalo’ Call for Protest

In response to the shutdown call, LAB and KDA have issued a ‘Leh Chalo’ call, urging people to converge in Leh to mark their protest. This signifies a united front in expressing the region’s demands.

10. A Path Forward for Ladakh’s Aspirations

As Ladakh stands at the crossroads of constitutional dialogue, the shutdown and committee discussions symbolize a crucial juncture in addressing the unique concerns and aspirations of the people, laying the groundwork for Ladakh’s future trajectory.

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