Shared January 1, 2020
Please help this message reach our dear Prime Minister Sh Narendra Modi
WHY UT LADAKH DESERVES 6th SCHEDULE
In this episode, I talk about how Ladakhi people will remain ever grateful to the Central Government led by Prime Minister Sh Narendra Modi and Home Minister Sh Amit Shah for fulfilling their longstanding wish of becoming a Union Territory (UT). However, it is causing concern and confusion among the people of Ladakh that even 2 months after the formal bifurcation of the state on 31st October the government has not announced anything about the safeguards to the tribal population of Ladakh… their land and environment.
Ladakhis didn’t ask for statehood which would have naturally given them powers to legislate about their own affairs. They demanded UT with the legislative council but they were happy even when the government denied this. The least they asked in this UT without legislative power was that Ladakh is covered under the 6th Schedule of Indian Constitution (Article 244). This would have provided various safeguards for the land, culture, and environment as has been done in parts of Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Tripura. One of the most important features of the 6th schedule is that it provides legislative powers to the Territorial Councils, in our case the two Hill Councils of Ladakh.
However, the problem is that different sources say that there seems to be no intention to give even this provision to Ladakh. This means that from the 1st of November Ladakh will be a UT with no safeguards and will be for sale… even if the ultra-fragile trans-Himalayan nature cannot support heavy industry or large population transfers. This is causing a lot of concern among people and it may dilute the gratitude and goodwill that people developed for the current government for granting the UT status. The surprising fact is that two months ago even the NCST the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes had unanimously recommended the inclusion of Ladakh in this provision and yet there is a deafening silence about this very issue that Ladakhi people want to hear about.
The constitution of India has been so motherly and generous that for its children with special backgrounds i.e. tribals, it devised constitutional provisions to protect their land, culture, environment, and interests in the form of 5th and 6th Schedule of Indian constitution.
So far all regions in India that have more than 50% tribal population have got the benefits of the 5th or 6th schedule. And therefore for Ladakh with its 96% tribal population, inclusion in the 6th schedule becomes a matter of right also… knowing that our constitution provides the right to equality also.
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