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Ladakh statehood demand: New Delhi- Ladakh talks resume

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Srinagar: The dialogue between leadership of Ladakh and New Delhi resumed on Monday with Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nitayanad Rai chairing a meeting of a high-powered committee constituted by the Government of India in January this year to discuss safeguards for the Union Territory.

The leaders from Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) and Leh Apex Body (LAB) met the MoS Home in New Delhi on Monday and reiterated their demand of statehood for Ladakh, two Lok Sabha seats, constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule and employment for the youth.

Chief executive councillor (CEC), Kargil, Dr. Jaffer Akhoon said that the representatives of the Government of India patiently listened to their demands.

“We raised our four-point demands and some other Ladakh- centric issues, “he said.

He said the Government of India representatives asked them to submit their demands in writing for further action.

“We have been assured that there will be more deliberations on these demands immediately after the conclusion of the ongoing parliament session,” he said.

Former minister and member of Ladakh Apex Body (LAB) Chering Dorjay said that the high-powered committee (HPC) headed by the Union Minister assured them to hold more talks on these demands.

“They did not give any assurance about our demands,” he said, adding that they have asked for a time- bound dialogue process focused on a 4-point agenda.

Apart from Minister of State (MoS) Affairs Nityanand Rai, Union Home Secretary and officials of MHA were present during the meeting.

It may be recalled that KDA and LAB held deliberations with the Government of India in June this year.

On January 2, the MHA constituted a high-powered committee to discuss measures to protect Ladakh’s “unique culture and language”, considering its geographical location and strategic importance. Its mandate included “ensuring the protection of land and employment for the people of Ladakh”. (KNO)

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