Ladakh celebrates as it becomes a Union Territory; Long held aspiration becomes a reality
People of Ladakh have wholeheartedly welcomed the central government's decision to make Ladakh a Union Territory. Celebrations have been going on in the region ever since the Home Minister announced its decision introduced the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir bill in the parliament.
Ladakh Buddhishts Association (LBA) was one of the prominent organisations which had been demanding the Union Territory status for the region. The long standing demand had gathered steam since last decade. Large rallies were held every year to further the demand. In 2017, the LBA, merchants association and government employees had taken out a huge rally across the region and demanded that Ladakh be made a UT as they alleged that they received step-motherly treatment from Kashmir for decades.
It was due to Article 370 and the control of Ladakh through Kashmir, many of the central schemes never reached the people of Ladakh. Consequently, Ladakh fell behind in children's education, LPG subsidy, tourism and developmental initiatives. The protestors led by LBA president Tswang Thinles had submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister then.
Ladakh had also suffered from influx of non-Ladhakhis which the Kashmir government did nothing to stem. This had also resulted in cases of disturbing communal harmony and many cases of Love Jihad were also reported.
"Kashmir has always treated Ladakh as a step-mother"
Welcoming the centre's decision, BJP MP from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal said that Kashmir has always treated Ladakh as a step-mother. He said said that citizens of Ladakh have welcomed the central government's decision to announce Ladakh as Union Territory as the people in Ladakh always wanted the region to be free from the dominance and discrimination of Kashmir.
"This decision will lead to the development of Ladakh. People of Ladakh always wanted to stay in touch with the central government directly, that's why we were demanding to announce Ladakh as Union Territory," Namgyal added.
Former Ladakh MP Thupstan Chhewang too welcomed the decision and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister AmitShah for according UT status to Ladakh. "This decision will not only help in the development of Ladakh and Kashmir but the entire country. We had this demand since 1947 which has become a reality today. I hope that with Ladakh becoming a Union Territory, people of Ladakh will be direct beneficiaries of the central schemes and development will reach everyone", he said.