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Apex Body of Leh makes U-turn, withdraws 6th schedule, demands UT with legislature

Leh, June 23, 2021: With New Delhi initiating the political process in Jammu and Kashmir, the Apex Body of Leh in Ladakh region Wednesday deviated from the demand of the 6th schedule and said that they will be asking for a Union Territory (UT) with a full-fledged legislature.

People’s Movement for 6th schedule Ladakh known as Apex Body based in Leh district of the region is the combined group of the mainstream, religious people, students, elected representatives, and others  was formed last year to demand special safeguards under the 6th schedule of the Indian constitution.

The Apex Body managed to grab the attention of the central government after it called for a complete poll boycott ahead of the 6th general LAHDC elections in Leh district.

Notably, in January in the ensuing year, the central government committed them to form a committee to be headed by MoS Home GK Reddy to hold deliberations on possibilities on Ladakh’s inclusion into the 6th schedule.

Addressing a joint press conference along with other leaders on Wednesday Thupstan Chewang the chairman of Apex Body as per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), said that recently a meeting of the group was held in which it was decided to demand a UT with a full-fledged legislature.

“The demand for the 6th schedule has been withdrawn. It will be UT Ladakh with a legislature for the people of this region. The same will be put forth to the MoS Home GK Reddy during the talks to be held soon,” he said.

In response to the queues related to the reasons to change the demand from the 6th schedule to UT and a legislature, Chewang said that it has been decided in the meeting and the same will be put forth to the MoS Home GK Reddy in the meeting.

One of the founding members of Apex Body and former minister Chering Dorjay told KNO that: “We have decided to demand UT status with the full-fledged legislature having special reservations.”

He maintained that under the 6th schedule legislature will be very weak and the body will hold talks with Kargil-based leaders as well.

“It will be seen what will be the outcome of the meeting and if there may be some changes”, he said.

Dorjay said that as of now no specific date for the meeting has been fixed with the Home Ministry but the invitation is expected very soon in the coming days.

Meanwhile, a handout issued to KNO reads that in the meeting with MoS Home GK Reddy the demand of the people of Ladakh will be for UT Ladakh with a legislature.

It said that a separate schedule of the Constitution of India for safeguarding, the interests of residents of Ladakh in respect of land ownership job reservation, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and other common interests of the inhabitants of the Ladakh region about 95 per cent of whom belong to various schedule tribes.

The handout maintains that: “Efforts shall be made to enlist the support of various organizations of the Kargil district as well, in a joint meeting of representatives of two districts in which apart from seeking consensus of the above decisions, a small team of representatives of the people of Ladakh from both the districts will be formed for discussion with the Union government in the meeting to be taken by Amit Shah as decided in the meeting of Apex Body with the Home Ministry on January 7th, 2021.”

It may be recalled that on return from New Delhi the Apex body of Leh formed a 17 member team to hold deliberations with the central committee—(KNO)

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