Amit Shah to form panel to look into Ladakh 6th Schedule demand

Home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday met an 11-member delegation from Ladakh and assured them to form a panel to be headed by a minister to look into their demands of inclusion of Ladakh in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution.

He chaired a high-level meeting with the leaders in Delhi. The delegation was led by former MPs Thiksay Rinpoche and Thupstan Chhewang.

Besides Rinpoche and Chhewang, other members of the delegation include former BJP minister Chering Dorjay, chief executive councilor of Leh Council, Tashi Gyalson, sitting BJP MP and Ladakh unit president Jamyang Tsering Namgyal.

“We met home minister Amit Shah who addressed our demands. Now, a panel will be constituted to look into the issue. It will be headed by a minister of state and bureaucrats from the Ladakh region,” one of the delegates, said, adding the panel will decide on the matter within three to four months.

On December 21, 2020, the Apex Body of People’s Movement (ABPM) decided to reach out to the opinion-makers in Leh and Kargil districts to press for the sixth schedule to the strategic Ladakh region.

The Apex Body of People’s Movement, an apolitical body, which has former BJP MP Thupstan Chhewang, Dorjay, Thiksay monastery head Rinpoche Nawang Chamba Stanzin and former minister Nawang Rigzin Jora, has been demanding constitutional safeguards under the sixth schedule of the Constitution to Ladakh on lines of north-eastern states.

The umbrella group includes political parties and religious organisations as well as the all-powerful Leh-based Ladakh Buddhist Association.

The safeguards also guarantee more teeth to the two hill development councils of Leh and Kargil with legislative powers.

It may be recalled here that Thupstan Chhewang, the former BJP MP, had resigned from his post and primary membership of the party in November 2018 for not conferring UT status to the Ladakh region and other promises made by the BJP in the 2014 general elections.

The sixth schedule also guaranteed no settlement of outsiders in the strategic region.

According to the 2011 Census, Ladakh has a population of 1,34,000, the majority of them being Buddhists.

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