Wangchuk urges outsiders not to visit Ladakh for border march on April 7 : The Tribune India

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Wangchuk urges outsiders not to visit Ladakh for border march on April 7

Wangchuk urges outsiders not to visit Ladakh for border march on April 7


Arjun Sharma

Jammu, April 3

On the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March, Innovator and educationist Sonam Wangchuk has planned a ‘Pashmina March’ on April 7 to the areas along Line of Actual Control (LAC) to show “destruction in the name of development”.

However, he has urged people from outside Ladakh, who have shown keen interest in taking part in the April 7 march, to refrain from coming to the UT.

Hotels still closed in UT

Hotels and guest houses are still closed as the tourist season had not yet begun and it could cause problem for those coming from outside to this inhospitable region with tough terrain. —Sonam Wangchuk, Social activist

“Hotels and guest houses are still closed as the tourist season had not yet begun and it could cause problem for those coming from outside to the inhospitable region with tough terrain,” he said, adding that in case people wish to take part in the march, they must come by April 5 to acclimatise before the arduous march.

Wangchuk recently went on a 21-day fast, surviving only on salt and water, to demand that Ladakh be given statehood and included under the Sixth Schedule, which will help protect the ecologically fragile region from “greedy” industries. Women from all walks of life were now holding fast before a mega march to Changthan region along LAC with China.

“After the 21-day hunger strike, I had gone to my village for two days. Women are now fasting these days. 250-300 women are fasting to urge the government to fulfil their promises (regarding Sixth Schedule),” said Wangchuk in a message.

He said that now youth and monks will also join the women in fasting. “On April 7, there will be a Pashmina March to the areas along LAC. I had asked people from outside Ladakh not to come here as hotels and guest houses were not open. But many people have insisted that they wanted to come,” Wangchuk said. He stressed that if anyone wants to come, he or she should arrive by April 5 which will be suitable for acclimatisation and not visit after that. “I did not want people from outside to come here” he said.

Elaborating on the march, Wangchuk said that following the path of non-violence shown by father of the nation MK Gandhi, “we will hold the peaceful march like he (Gandhi) held the Dandi march against the British. Through Pashmina march, we will highlight how the goat nomads are being thrown out from the grazing grounds as the government is preparing to give large swaths of land to industrialists for solar power generation. Some land has also been reportedly encroached by Chinese Army,” he said.

In an online press conference last week, Wangchuk had said: “While industries exploit the riches of the Himalayas, the local people bear the brunt of disasters. The government uses taxpayers’ money for rehabilitation efforts. So, those who reap the benefits are not held accountable.”

Post the repeal of Article 370, Ladakh became a separate Union Territory “without legislature”. The Buddhist-dominated Leh district had long demanded UT status because it felt neglected by the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir government.

However, with the administration of the region now completely in the hands of bureaucrats, many in Ladakh demand that the UT be included in the Sixth Schedule, which provides for the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) with legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.

#Jammu #Ladakh #Mahatma Gandhi


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