Leh Apex Body to begin ‘Pashmina March’ tomorrow to meet shepherds : The Tribune India

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Leh Apex Body to begin ‘Pashmina March’ tomorrow to meet shepherds

Leh Apex Body to begin ‘Pashmina March’ tomorrow to meet shepherds

After being thwarted by the local administration earlier, ‘Pashmina March’ will now take place on April 17. This was announced by Ladakh educationist and innovator Sonam Wangchuk today.



Our Correspondent

Jammu, April 15

After being thwarted by the local administration earlier, ‘Pashmina March’ will now take place on April 17. This was announced by Ladakh educationist and innovator Sonam Wangchuk today.

The Leh Apex Body (LAB) will start a five-day foot march to Skang Chu-Thang near the Himachal Pradesh border to meet the shepherds who are reportedly losing their pasture land to major industrial projects, Wangchuk said.

5-day foot march to himachal border

  • Leh Apex Body (LAB) will start a five-day foot march to Skang Chu-Thang near the Himachal Pradesh border to meet the shepherds who are reportedly losing their pasture land to major industrial projects, said Wangchuk
  • Around 20 people will take part in the march against 10,000 proposed during previous march call
  • Earlier, the call for the march was withdrawn after authorities imposed prohibitory orders and curtailed the speed of the Internet to 2G

In a video message, Wangchuk said there will be around 20 people who will take part in the march against 10,000 people proposed earlier for the march, which was planned for Changthang along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

The LAB, along with the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), is spearheading an agitation for the past four years to demand statehood for Ladakh and its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

Ladakh residents are agitating for Sixth Schedule and statehood for the past long time. There have been several rounds of meetings between local leaders and the Union Home Ministry but no conclusion has been reached.

The LAB had earlier called for Pashmina March on April 7 to highlight the plight of farmers, who are allegedly losing prime pasture land to huge industrial plants to the south and “Chinese encroachments” to the north. However, the call for the march was withdrawn after authorities imposed prohibitory orders and curtailed the speed of the internet to 2G.

Wangchuk said, “Ladakh is a very sensitive place surrounded by borders and we can understand that our announcement of 10,000 people moving to the border might have caused concern to the government over disturbance of peace”.

He said that if that was the concern, “we respect it and have decided to go by foot instead of vehicles in a small batch up to the Himachal border within Ladakh to meet the shepherds who we are hearing have lost a vast chunk of their pastures to industrialists,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wangchuk expressed his annoyance over “some people in Delhi” dubbing them as “anti-nationals or Chinese and CIA agents” and said the only purpose of the march is to “take the pain of the people” of Ladakh to the government which needs to fulfil its promises.

He said the march will start on April 17 coinciding with Ram Navami and there should be no objection to the march as it is happening within the Indian territory.

“If the (Central) government and (Ladakh) administration have no objection, we would like to extend the march to Changthang (near China border) as we are told that our shepherds there have lost their pasture land due to (Chinese) incursions,” the activist said, adding that they will seek permission from the authorities concerned to avoid any unnecessary reaction.

He expressed hope that the government will allow them to visit Changthang and said “it is a golden opportunity for them as well to show the reality to the outside world. They are saying that not an inch of our land was taken away (by China), so they should facilitate our visit otherwise doubts will be created in the minds of the people about their statements.” Wangchuk said some people in Delhi are thinking that the protesters are creating some sort of problems for the country.

“We are not doing it against anyone. We are doing it in support of our people who are being driven out of their pastures. If our sincere endeavour in support of our constitutional rights is labelled treason, it will only generate alienation which will be unfortunate. We have always stood with our forces to safeguard our country… Someone’s shortsightedness will not be allowed to create a wedge between the people of Ladakh and the country,” he said.

For the last 39 days, people in Ladakh have been on a chain hunger strike in a peaceful manner to remind the government of its promises, he said.

“Reminding promises is no treason or anti-national act. We want our rights enshrined in the constitution which is the guiding light for the country,” the activist added. — With PTI Inputs

#Jammu #Ladakh #Leh


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