June 2000 News

Ladakh Council adopts resolution seeking separation from J & K

30 June 2000
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Close on the heels of autonomy resolution adopted by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Monday, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) today adopted another resolution seeking complete separation from the State. Immediately, the Nation Conference Government, headed by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, described the resolution as ''unconstitutional and illegal.'' In a significant development, the 30-member general council of LAHDC passed a resolution unanimously seeking separation from J & K in the event of restoration of the pre-1953 position to the State. Interestingly, all the three members of the National Conference (NC) on the council, supported the move. The resolution was moved by Mr. Rigzan Spalbar, council representative from Lama Yaru constituency and seconded by Mr. Tashi Choktan. The resolution said ''The adoption of the resolution in J & K Assembly on June 26 seeking restoration of the pre-53 position has come as a rude shock to the public of Ladakh. This is mischievous and aimed at gradual secession of the State from the Union of India. Restoration of the pre-53 position will not only endanger the nation''s security and integrity but will pose a threat to very existence of distinctive ethnic cultural identity of Ladakhi''s, Dogris, Pandits, Gujjar and others ethnic minorities in the State. In the circumstances, I move the resolution demanding complete separation from J & K in the form of a union territory.'' The Congress(I)-dominated LAHDC has 30 members of whom four are nominated. Three members belong to the ruling National Conference. Meanwhile, Mr. K. B. Jandial, director of information told The Hinduthat the resolution was not on the agenda and the meeting was called for discussing the plan. The deputy commissioner of Leh, who is also chief executive officer and secretary of LAHDC, walked out of the meeting in protest. ''It has no sanctity and is unconstitutional and illegal. It has not been recorded anywhere by the CEO,'' Mr. Jandial said. The LAHDC came into existence in 1995 and is due for elections by the end of August. The LAHDC chairman, Mr. Thupstan Chhewang said: ''we are not against autonomy to J & K but, in that case we want separation from the State as it will weaken the country''s unity.'' He admitted that the resolution had not been on the agenda but the members demanded it. He said the people of Leh were up in arms against autonomy. Kargil part of region has rejected the autonomous council in 1995 and decided to continue to be part of Kashmir.


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