Ladakh Muslims flay Lama Lobzang''s statement
19 July 2000
Leh: Ladakh Muslim Go-ordination Committee Leh has expressed shock over the statement and the news item that appeared on July 16 in the ''Kashmir Times'', ''Hindustan Times'', and ''Excelsior'' regarding a press conference convened by Rev Lama Lobzang, a member of National Commission for Schedule Tribe and Schedule Caste at Delhi. In a letter to Excelsior, the Committee members said that ''we were distressed to read that Lama Lobzang has tried to minimize the sensitivity of the derogatory remarks uttered by Mr Sonam Gombo vice president Ladakh Buddhist Association against Holy Quran. In the press conference Lama Lobzang has projected Sonam Gombo as an illiterate office holder of LBA this is not correct. Mr Gombo is an educated person, though he is not a degree holder. He is an old Politician and a senior leader of LBA. That is why the Buddhist leader is bent upon to hush up the case filed against Sonam Gombo by the State Government, the rejoinder said. It said that the reaction of the Muslims of Leh on blasphemous remarks has been described as ''excessive'' and ''deplorable'' by Lama Lobzang and he has accused Muslims of the District for inciting their co-religionists in Ladakh. This allegation is quite baseless. Despite deep anguish and resentment and in the wake of provocations the Muslims showed extraordinary restraint. No FIR was filed against the offender, no inflammatory statement was issued and no demonstration was held in Leh from 10th to 12th July, in curfew free Leh town following the sad incident of 10th July, the letter said. It asserted that Sonam Gombo passed his derogatory remarks against the Holy Quran in presence of a big multitude covered by media persons and Government Intelligent Agencies. It was beyond the control of any body to suppress the news in the age of ''Communication Explosion''. Lama Lobzang has alleged that no Muslim leader condemned the killing of three monks at Rangdum, Zanskar, Muslim leaders of different shades of opinion both in Kargil and Leh received the sad news with anguish and condemned this deplorable incident immediately describing it as a dastardly act and heinous crime. Their statements were extensively covered by the electronic media. Muslim leaders from Leh and Kargil including Ghulam Hassan Khan MP, Ghulam Abbas MLA, Mohd Shafi Lassu (president Anjuman, Moinul Islam) and Sheikh Javed (vice president Anjuman Imamia) Leh rush to Rangdum village to attend the funeral of the deceased monks and to express solidarity with the bereaved families, the letter remined. It said that Lama Lobzang should have verified the fact before giving his ''irresponsible statement''. The figure released by Lama Lobzang through a document about conversion and discrimination in Government services should be taken with a pinch of salt and needs to be ascertained its veracity, as Ladakhi Buddhist Leaders are in habit of doling out exaggerated and false figures from time to time in this regard, which have been repudiated by the print media, Muslims of the region and the Government in the past, the letter said. Signitories to the letter included Gh Hassain Walimeer, president Anjumaan Imamia Leh and Mohd Shafi Lassu, president Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam Leh.