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Fulfill promises made to people of Ladakh: Sonam Wangchuk in fresh appeal to PM

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Leh: Climate activist Sonam Wangchuk, who is leading a hunger strike here to demand statehood for Ladakh and its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, on Tuesday made a fresh appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fulfil promises made to the people.

In video messages shared on X, a frail-looking Wangchuk, whose ‘climate fast’ entered the 21st day on Tuesday, called on the people of Ladakh to use their franchise “very carefully” this time in the interest of the nation.

A renowned education reformist, Wangchuk has been on ‘climate fast’ in sub-zero temperatures since March 6, a day after talks between joint representatives of Leh-based Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), which are jointly spearheading the agitation to demand statehood for Ladakh and its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule, and the central government hit a deadlock.

The Sixth Schedule contains provisions related to the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram through autonomous district councils.

The ‘climate fast’ is likely to end later in the day as Leh-based Apex Body and KDA will announce the future course of action on Wednesday.

Reminding the prime minister of the promises made by the BJP in its election manifestoes, Wangchuk said Modi is a devotee of Lord Ram and should follow his teaching of ‘pran jaye par vachan na jaye’ (one may lose their life, but must not break their promise).

“While India is the mother of democracy, we citizens have a very special power. We are the kingmakers, we can compel a government to change their ways or change the government if that doesn’t work. Let us remember to use our ballot power very carefully this time in the interest of the nation,” said Wangchuk, whose life inspired Aamir Khan’s character Rancho in Bollywood blockbuster “3 Idiots”.

Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1. Ladakh will go to polls in the fifth phase on May 20.

Over the past 20 days, Wangchuk said, around 60,000 of Ladakh’s 3 lakh residents have participated in the hunger strike demonstrating their pain but “no word came from this government”.

“We are trying to remind and awaken the consciousness of our Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to safeguard the fragile ecosystem of Himalayan mountains in Ladakh and the unique indigenous tribal cultures that thrive here.

“We do not think of Modi and Amit (Shah) as just politicians, we would rather like to think of them as statesmen and for that they will have to show some character and some farsightedness,” the climate activist said.


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