Demand for splitting state into 3 regions gets louder -
Demand for splitting state into 3 regions gets louder
Posted 26 Apr 2017 01:44 PM


The prolonged unrest in Kashmir has deepened the regional divide in the relatively peaceful Jammu and Ladakh regions as the demand for separating the two regions from the Kashmir valley has gained momentum. The Jammu region has been pushing for statehood while Ladakh has been demanding UT status.

People and representatives of Jammu and Ladakh contend that they have been suffering “immensely” due to the recurrent violence, uncertainty and “growing radicalism” in Kashmir.

“We have been suffering due to the Kashmir situation, which adversely affected our tourism as well as the supply of essential goods to the Ladakh region last year. On the behalf of Ladakhi people, I want to make it clear that the government will have to think seriously about granting UT status to Ladakh,” Sonam Dawa Lonpo, Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, told The Tribune over phone. The LAHDC governs the Leh district politically while the CEC holds the rank of a Cabinet minister.

“We want to tell the Centre that it should not link us with Kashmir. We are not opposing what will be given to Kashmir but our demand is clear: we want separation from Kashmir and UT status for Ladakh. Our struggle will continue till we accomplish our mission,” the CEC said.

On April 9, Leh district had observed a complete shutdown on a call given by the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), a powerful religious body, in support of the demand for UT status to Ladakh.

Tsewang Thinles, LBA chief, said: “We don’t want to live with Kashmir. Ladakh has suffered because of Kashmir. The Kashmiri leadership cannot impose their decision on us. We had also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this context. The Central government should also keep in mind that no decision on the Kashmir issue would be possible without consulting the people of Ladakh. It must honour the aspirations of Ladakhi people by granting them UT status.”

Nawang Rigzin Jora, Congress legislature party leader and MLA from Leh, maintained there was no commonality between people of the three regions — Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. “We have to have a binding force which is not there. Generations of Kashmir have been brought up on the rhetoric of separatism since the 1950s. Ladakh’s demand for UT status is legitimate and genuine.”

In Jammu too, voices for a separate statehood have gone shriller. “Zorawar Singh Jamwal, chairman of Team Jammu, said Jammu had suffered due to the Kashmir-centric policies of the Centre. “The people in Jammu, particularly those in Poonch and Rajouri, have always stood with nationalist forces while tackling terrorism. The Centre, however, hasn’t announced any Jammu-specific policy, reflecting discrimination and bias against people of the region,” he added.

Hari Om, a political analyst, asserted that “the reorganisation of J&K is a national requirement and a constitutional demand.”

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