Srinagar:   Ahead of Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) polls, BJP is under fire for failing to include Ladakh in the sixth schedule of the constitution.

The 26-member LAHDC is going to polls on October 16.  The sixth schedule of the Indian constitution guarantees land and job rights to the locals of the tribal areas. This schedule is already being implemented in many north-eastern states including Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, and Mizoram.

Resentment is brewing among locals against the Centre for not extending the sixth schedule to Ladakh.

Leading the campaign is former Chief Executive Councilor LAHDC Rigzin Spalbar. He has called for boycotting the LAHDC polls to protest against the Centre.

 “Election has no meaning when people don’t have any constitutional safeguards to protect land, jobs, and ethnicity. We have a population of less than 300,000 people and it will take no time to change the demography of Ladakh. So I have called for boycotting the elections,” Saplbar said.

The former LAHDC chief said the people are ready to take to the streets in Ladakh.

“Some people with vested interests are exploiting people about multi-national industries. We only need a balanced sustainable development with a special focus on environmental issues. Ladakh has 99 percent tribal population and deserves constitutional safeguards,” he said.

Currently, LAHDC is controlled by the BJP, which has 18 out of 30 councilors

Various religious organizations including Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) and Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam too have expressed resentment against the Centre for not granting special status to Ladakh.

Both these religious organizations rejected the domicile law for Ladakh and urged people to support the demand for sixth schedule implementation.

Ladakh’s student and the business community is equally supporting the demand to prevent demographic change in the “tribal-dominated union territory”.

Many sitting councilors of LAHDC, however, term the growing demand for the sixth schedule as a stunt to disturb elections.

“Elections can’t be boycotted as it is a democratic process. It is an issue racked up by some people who want to score brownie points. We have taken up the issue of the sixth schedule with the high command,” said a LAHDC councilor, who pleaded anonymity.

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