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Cong Criticises PM Modi, Asks Him To Deliver On Promise Of Granting Statehood To Ladakh

Modi's visit to Bhutan, which was scheduled for Thursday, has been rescheduled due to inclement weather conditions in the Himalayan nation.

Cong asks PM Modi if he has any intention of upholding his guarantee to the people of Ladakh
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The Congress on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi if he has any intention of upholding his "guarantee" to the people of Ladakh on grant of statehood and self governance.

In a post on X, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said "since the prime minister has put off his Bhutan photo-ops today, we hope he can devote some time to Ladakh".

Modi's visit to Bhutan, which was scheduled for Thursday, has been rescheduled due to inclement weather conditions in the Himalayan nation. "Since February 3rd, when there was a complete shutdown of Ladakh by the locals, the people of Ladakh have been protesting in large numbers against the Modi Sarkar's heavy handed 'rule by bureaucracy,' which has made a mockery of local elected institutions," he said.

The courageous environmental activist Sonam Wangchuk has brought the agony of the people of Ladakh to national and global attention, he noted. Posing a set of four questions the people of Ladakh have for the PM, the Congress leader said the people of Ladakh are demanding constitutional safeguards for the Union Territory of Ladakh, including statehood and inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

Incidentally, he said, the BJP had promised Ladakh's inclusion in the Sixth Schedule in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections and the 2020 Ladakh Hill Council Polls.

"Does the Prime Minister have any intention of upholding his "Modi ki guarantee?" If not, why did he make the promise in the first place? Ten years after he first took office, why is this issue still pending," he asked.

Ramesh also said that since the dissolution of the BJP-PDP Government in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2018, the people of Ladakh have had no representative government at the state-level.

"On August 5, 2019, by converting Ladakh into a separate Union Territory without a legislative assembly, the Modi Sarkar closed the possibilities of any self-government for the people of Ladakh.

"What vision did the Prime Minister have for Ladakh when he declared it a separate Union Territory? Were the people of Ladakh ever consulted during the development of this vision," he asked.

Ramesh also alleged that under Prime Minister Modi's governance, "India has lost prime pasture land in the Changthang plains in the north of Ladakh to Chinese encroachment. In addition to a national security crisis, this is also a serious socio-economic issue for the nomads of Ladakh".

"The prime minister, however, gave a clean chit to China on June 19th, 2020, at the all-party meet on China, when he declared that not a single Chinese soldier had crossed over into Indian territory," he said, asking whether the people of Ladakh are lying while claiming that their lands had been encroached upon by the Chinese PLA.

Ramesh claimed that the proposed Ladakh Industrial Land Allotment Policy 2023 has suggested single-window clearance committees that have only government officials and an industry representative.

There are no Council members, civil society groups, and panchayat representatives in these committees, he claimed. "The document does not even lay out the environmental or cultural criteria for considering an industrial project, nor does it provide for any public consultation.

"In a sensitive ecosystem such as Ladakh, in a region populated by nomadic tribes and other sensitive demographic groups, what is the cynical motive that underlines this proposed Land Allotment Policy? Is it yet another attempt by the Prime Minister to favour his industrialist friends at the cost of the people," Ramesh asked, using the hashtag "#ChuppiTodoPradhanMantriji".

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