Ready for talks with anyone for end of social boycott: Muslim Association

September 9, 2016

Kargil: Muslim Association Zanskar has hailed the efforts of Member of Legislative Assembly Aga Syed Baqir Rizvi that he started to end the social boycott against Muslims. The association said they are ready for talks with anyone for ending this boycott.

Prominent leader of the Muslim Association, Nazar Muhammad told Kargil Number that social boycott is a grave issue and concerted efforts were needed to end this. He said that Muslim Association has repeatedly brought the issue into the notice of the state government.

“The issue was brought into the notice of spiritual leader of Buddhists, Dalai Lama, but due to unknown reasons there has been no forward movement,” he said.

“In this new age when due to internet the world has become a global village and people not only are in contact with their country-men but also with rest of the world, the new social and developmental visions are being rejected in Zanksar through the social boycott,” said Nazar.

Nazar said that neither Buddhism nor Islam allows social boycott. Quoting president of Muslim Association, Ghulam Haider, he said that Aga Bakir realized the sensitiveness of the issue when he spoke with both parties while trying to resolve the issue.

“Muslim Association will support anyone’s efforts aimed at ending the social boycott because we believe that there is betterment of both communities in ending the boycott,” said Haider. He according to Nazar said that they are ready to talk to anyone, anywhere.

Haider, according to Nazar, said that Aga Syed Bakir after his Zanskar visit immediately rushed to Leh where he raised the issue of social boycott with Dalai Lama who assured all possible assistance in resolving the issue. Haider said that Dalai Lama directed the head of Ladakh Buddhist Association to resolve the issue.

Ghulam Haider hailed the efforts of Aga Bakir and expressed hope that he will continue his efforts so that economic and social boycott of minority community is ended. He said that the minority community is frightened and is facing grave difficulties due to the boycott which is on from several years now.


Won’t include Kargil in our demands from now: Leh Congress

September 9, 2016

Leh : Former member of National Minority Commission and Leh Congress president, T Samphil, has said that given the opposition by people of Kargil to the demand of Union Territory they have decided not to include Kargil while making any demand in future.

He said that BJP-led LAHDC in Leh has completely failed in serving people and as a result there is dismay with regard to State Government and Hill Council among people.

Speaking to Rangyul, Samphil said as people of Kargil have changed their stance towards Kashmir issue, a new policy is under consideration in which only aspirations of people of Leh shall be taken care of. He said that the killings, destruction and losses which are going in Kashmir Valley due to firing and use of pellet guns have saddened them and this should be stopped immediately.

Samphil said that the stand of Ladakhi people has been already cleared with regard to Kashmir issue and when the time of resolving Kashmir issue would come, they will not stand behind anyone over the demand of giving Ladakh a Union Territory status. He said that for attaining Union Territory, the people of Ladakh have given sacrifices and till today no political, religious or social organization have withdrawn this demand.

“For seeking the status of Union Territory, not only Muslims and Buddhists but also Sikhs, Hindus and Christians are in agreement. There has been no change in the demand of Union Territory with the founding or splitting of LUTF,” said Samphil. He said after opposition of Kargil inhabitants to the demand of Union Territory, the people of Leh have now decided that any demand in future would be only for Leh and not for Kargil.

Samphil said that Kargil Congress is party-within-party and that is relying on local politics instead of party policy. “Otherwise, the mistake of polling votes in favour of Opposition candidates by Congress voters won’t have been made,” he said.

Pertinently, the Samphill was Congress candidate in last Parliamentary polls from Ladakh but Kargil Congress on the pretext of ignoring mandate rebelled against him and refused to cast votes in his favour.

Samphill said that the working season is now coming to an end but all projects have come to a halt due to non-availability of funds. He accused BJP council of not only leaving those developmental projects half-way that were started by Congress Council but also charged it of not taking up any new project.

Samphill said that no step has been taken to start work again on the construction of Golf Course, Trans Himalayan Culture Centre, Convention Centre and other mega projects. He said that common people are in distress due to curtailment in ration and increase in the prices of cooking gas and with each passing day the dismay against Hill Council is increasing.

The president of Leh Congress said that BJP leaders on the occasion of polls had promised ‘Achhe Din’ and also promised to open Kailash-Mansar highway but till now neither ‘Acche Din’ came nor was the Highway opened.

He said that Leh inhabitants are facing severe difficulties and in current situation the people have no hope of relief from Government. Samphill said that Congress is keeping an eye on the situation and the party is standing shoulder to shoulder with people and is engaged in ending these difficulties.


Would like to involve people of Kargil in Union Territory demand: LBA

September 9, 2016


Leh:  The vice-president of Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), PT Kunzang, has said that they don’t want to thrust upon the demand of Union Territory on anyone but would like to involve people of Kargil in this demand.

Speaking to Rangyul, Kunzang said that the politicians of Leh are facing difficulties in raising the demand of Union Territory due to party constraints and that’s why the LBA has raised this demand again along with religious organizations.

He said the Kashmir issue has again resurrected and people of Jammu have also forwarded their viewpoint. “So, we have also decided to raise the aspirations of Ladakhis,” he said, adding that Kashmir issue should be resolved through peaceful means. Kunzang said that Government of India wants to find solutions of issues through talks.

He expressed grief over the deaths of humans, be it commoners or security forces, in Kashmir and said that the Government of India should take steps to end bloodshed. He said that State and Central Governments should find out such a solution to Kashmir issue where there should be no scope for further bloodshed and killings.

The LBA vice-president said that aspirations of Kashmiris, Jammuties and Ladakhis should be understood for peaceful atmosphere in State. While hailing the Kashmiri leadership including Hurriyat Conference and mainstream parties, he said that they have never opposed demands of Ladakhis nor tried to interfere in them.

He said despite breaking of LUTF, there has been no change in the demand of Union Territory in Leh but this has now been cleared that all political leaders of Leh are in favour of the demand. “At the local level, these leaders make different kinds of claims with regard to Union Territory and even they talk of leaving their parties but due to some party constraints they are unable to raise the demand at national level with proper effect,” he said.

Kunzang said that the religious organizations have no such constraints and that’s why they have reiterated the demand of Union Territory jointly. He said that for the demand of Union Territory, they have complete support of Anjuman-e-Mueen-ul-Islam, Anjuman-e-Imamia and Christian Association.

He said that they earlier also invited people of Kargil for participating in struggle of Union Territory demand and they will now hold deliberations with Kargil’s political and religious organizations for their participation in this struggle. “We will make them count the benefits of Union Territory so that they will favour this demand,” he said.

Kunzang said that time demands that instead of dividing people on the basis of religion they should be united on basis of culture and custom. He said that not only tradition and rituals, culture and customs but issues of people of Kargil and Leh are same. “So, we need to unite on the basis of custom so that people of both districts in one voice search for the resolution of their issues,” he said.

The vice-president of LBA said that in this regard the meaningful efforts of Action Committee for Protection of Reservation in Promotions have been started and in which all political and religious organizations of Leh and Kargil have united.

He said that a meeting of the committee has been held at Leh and another similar meeting would be held in Kargil in coming days in which 20-member delegation of political and religious parties of Leh would participate so that each other’s issues are understood and a joint stand is adopted for their resolution.

Kunzang admitted that instead of Leh, people of Kargil have good and close relations with Kashmiris due to some reasons and that’s the biggest reason for opposition to Union Territory demand. He said that LBA will try to end these reservations of Kargil people.

With regard to social boycott of Muslims in Zanskar, the vice-president of LBA confirmed that they have assured Dalai Lama that they will try to solve the issue in every possible way. “There are several issues between the two committees and on whom talks are imperative. We want that all these issues are resolved through talks,” he said.

When asked that the repeated efforts of Government and religious organizations of Kargil have not yielded any results with regard to ending the social boycott, Kunzang said that they will try to use their influence on Zanskar Buddhist Association.

“We will try to understand the issue by meeting both sides and will find out an acceptable solution,” he said. In reply to a question, Kunzang said that LBA has completely got salvation from politics and now it will not get trapped into the politics. “However, when it comes to the issues linked with the interest people of Ladakh, the LBA will not sit back and would raise them,” he said.


NLM poses challenge to Congress, BJP in Leh

October 5, 2015

Leh: The traditional political rivals in Ladakh—Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)—are confronted by a freshly formed group–New Ladakh Movement (NLM) in poll fray posing challenge to their prospectus to form Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) in Leh. The election for 26 councilor seats is scheduled for October 17. While the Congress is struggling hard to retain sway on Hill Council, the BJP’s prestige is on stake in the backdrop of holding the parliamentary seat and being coalition partner in the State.
The Congress has fielded 25 candidates including 15 first-timers to assure the electorate that the party was up for a change on the ground. The BJP has fielded 24 candidates. But what has attracted the attention of political observers is the fielding of 15 candidates by NLM, a group formed last month by upstart politicians who have worked in social and political sectors and sought to challenge the traditional political class at various levels. The group is headed by Sonam Wangchuk, an engineer who has played vital role in reforming educational system in the region.
The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has fielded 8 candidates independent of its coalition partner BJP while the Opposition National Conference with least influence in the region has also fielded 8 candidates.
The Congress fielded its senior leader and former legislator Narboo Gyalson to challenge Wangchuk at Khaltsi, which NLM describes as its “victory before the poll results”. A senior Congress leader Chewang Rigzin has also joined NLM and filed papers from two places. The Congress supported an independent candidate to challenge Rigzin at Diksit, a seat he has won repeatedly.
However, Congress says that it is not perturbed by NLM’s entry into poll fray. “It is a matter of days when people would know how influential they (NLM) are on the ground. They won’t be able to open their account”, senior Congress leader T Samphel said.
On the contrary, NLM spokesman Chewang Dorje said that Congress was not able to find candidates at places like Diksit and Khaltsi. “This is the reason as to why the Congress fielded its senior leader from Khaltsi to face Sonam Wangchuk”, Dorje said. The NLM claims that the new Hill Council would not be formed without their support.
The BJP’s two stalwart—MP Thupstan Chewang and Cooperatives Minister in Mufti Sayeed’s cabinet Chering Dorje have launched a massive campaign to take over the Leh’s political fortress. The party’s CEC candidate Dr Sonam Dawa claims that it would have a smooth sailing in the elections with the support of people who are fed up with the unpredictable approach of congress leaders. The BJP has not fielded candidates in Wanla and Turtuk where PDP has fielded its candidates. This is seen as a tacit understanding between the coalition partners though they have announced to go for polls independently.
Interestingly, the Opposition NC has joined the council polls after a long time. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah recently toured Ladakh region to restructure his party. The party’s Ponchok Wangdan has emerged as a major challenge to incumbent CEC Rigzin Spalbar in Lower Leh council constituency where Congress has suffered dissention.
Around 80, 811 voters have been registered to exercise their franchise on October 17. The district administration has directed the political parties to strictly adhere to the Model Code of Conduct during the polls.


India-China troops meet at DBO, Chushul

October 2, 2015

A ceremonial border personnel meeting between Indian and Chinese armies was held in Chushul and DBO areas of Leh District to mark China’s National Day on Thursday Oct.1.

“A ceremonial border personnel meeting was conducted on Thursday at the Chinese Border Personnel Meeting huts at Chushul and at Daulat Beigh Oldi (DBO) in eastern Ladakh,” army’s northern command spokesman, Col. S.D. Goswami told IANS.

He said Brigadier R.S. Raman and Colonel B.S. Uppal led the Indian delegations in Chushul and Daulat Begh Oldie, while the Chinese delegations were led by Senior Colonel Fan Jun and Colonel Song Zhang Li respectively.

“The ceremonial border personnel meeting was marked by saluting the national flag of China by both delegations. This was followed by the ceremonial address by both delegations’ leaders which was composed of exchange of greetings, wishes and reflected the mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at functional level at the border.

“Thereafter, a culture programme showcasing vibrant Chinese culture and traditional grandeur was organised which was followed by lunch,” he said, adding that this continuing interaction between border troops of both nations has “created an environment of mutual trust and bonhomie along the Line of Actual Control”.


BJP releases manifesto for LAHDC Elections

October 2, 2015

Promises UT status for Ladakh

Leh, Oct1:  BJP Leh has promised  UT Status for Ladakh in its nine point manifesto released on October 1 for October 17 (LAHDC) elections here.

The poll manifesto was released by party general secretary (Organization) Ashok Kaul at a press conference on Oct.1. He was flanked by MoS R&B, Sunil Sharma and Party general secretary, Manish Sharma and other leaders on the occasion.
Mr Kaul said the nine points agenda includes to streamline development plans and the planning process in the district, to re-visit Ladakh 2025 drafted in 2002.
He said BJP is committed to pursue fulfilment of long-standing demands of the People of Ladakh region which include grand of UT Status to Ladakh, opening pilgrimage route to Kailash Manasarover via Demjok, declaration of Ladakh as Scheduled-6 areas, inclusion of Bhoti language in 8th Scheduled on the Constitution, grant of the deemed university status to CIBS, Central University/Medical College in Ladakh, to strengthen relationship between Leh and Kargil, to renew efforts on upholding the rich culture heritage of the region and promotion in tourism industry.
He said Leh district has vision document which provides a broad framework for action by LAHDC Leh and other stakeholder. However this vision has not been affectively implemented. So BJP resolved to initiate a participatory process to re-visit the vision document, to ensure effective implementation of flagship programme of the new government, to review functioning of LAHDC Act of 1995/1997, to empower PRIs and to purse fulfilment of long-standing demands of the people of Ladakh.


Congress bickering helped me cruise through: Thupstan Leh and Kargil have separate aspirations, challenges. “I have no personal agenda”  

May 26, 2014

Leh: Buoyed up by the victory in parliamentary polls from Ladakh constituency, the second time Member of Parliament Thupstan Chewang said that he would pursue separate agenda for Leh and Kargil districts based on the aspirations of the twin districts of Ladakh region. He conceded that the infighting in Congress and division of votes in Kargil played a significant role in his victory by a wafer-thin margin.

Speaking to Rangyul before leaving for New Delhi to partake in process of formation of government led by Narendra Modi, Chewang said that he would pursue the twin election manifestos devised by his party for Leh and Kargil. “We realize that the aspirations and problems of the people of Leh and Kargil districts are diverse. We devised the manifesto on the basis of regional aspirations and would try our best to fulfill our promises”, he said.

He denied that his party did some back-channel lobbying to emerge winner in the election. “We had no hidden policy. It is a fact that the infighting in Congress between T Samphel, Asgar Karbalae and Rigzin Spalbar helped us a great deal”, he said.

Commenting on his victory by a whisker Chewang said that even as the victory margin was very lean but it turns out to be enormous in comparison with the amount of challenge and political opposition on the ground. “Yes, my victory margin is very low. But, you must realize the other factors also. I was confronting the political forces with deep roots. The ruling National Conference and influential Islamia School were backing Mohd Kazim Sabri and T Samphel was the nominee of the Congress. I was actually confronting two biggest powers of the State”, he said.

He said that coalition in Jammu and Kashmir has never succeeded in Ladakh region. “In 2009 polls, Congress alliance was unsuccessful. That time, NC and the Islamia School backed Hassan Khan and he won. This time around, the alliance did not work again. There was polarization in Kargil votes. This helped me though I unexpectedly received a little chunk of votes from Kargil.

Thupstan said that he had no personal agenda during the polls. “We approached the people on the development agenda of Narendra Modi and insisted on Buddhist-Muslim unity in the region. “I never indulged in mud-slinging though my opponents attempted to make personal attacks”, he said.

“ I tried to maintain political dignity and perhaps this is the reason that the voters preferred me over my opponents”, he said.

Chewang flew to New Delhi to remain closer to political developments regarding oath taking ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi and formation of his new government.


Economy versus Ecology Why not a profitable environmental synergy?

May 26, 2014

Charlotte Bochkoltz (Brussels, Belgium)
Born in an absolute flat country, I turned out to be a mountain freak roaming around the great Himalaya. Very logically I ended up in Ladakh to experience the freezing but ecstatic walk on the frozen Zanskar river, nicknamed Chadar during its winter metamorphose.
Since ages, Zanskarpas have been using this natural icy trail to reach Ladakh when the only motorable road is closed due to massive snowflakes bombardment. At such times all the trekking paths have totally vanished under a tricky confederation of dangerous inches of snow. Sure enough: during the harsh and long Himalayan winter passes are unreachable with avalanches becoming a serious bet after snowfalls or any weather’s change.
If Zanskarpas and Ladakhpas are used to walk on the frozen surface of the turbulent Zanskar waters, about a decade ago some westerners adventurers started to venture on the blue path as well, following the steps of the local pioneers. Pretty soon after that this very unusual way became a challenging winter adventure for the enthusiasts of the extreme.
In January 2010 I found myself highly thrilled to put my footprints on that pristine and unspoilt way. The beauty of the experience was so intense that I actually started dating the Zanskar River, being back the four following winters for that strange icy flirt.
However, this Febuary 2014 a whole new Chadar experience awaited me. In between the Bollywood Industry screened a huge hit under Amir Khan’s performance: “Three Idiots” revealed to the massive Indian bollywood audience this amazing area of India called Ladakh and settled in the far north-east of the country. Suddenly, this geographic exhuberance of 44000 Sq. kms saw its touristic season stretching from mid-April to the far end of October, including Indian vacationers who actually start the season a rough two months earlier than the foreign tourists who mostly come for the more classic touristic months of June-July-August. Thanks to the social networks, the e-medias and Discovery Chanel, the Chadar Expedition was unveiled as the new adrenaline kick for those ready to confront themselves to the dropping mercury which has an average of minus 29°C to 31°C but seems to take a fancy for regular and scandalous plunges well below the dramatic 4O° Celcius.
Great for all: Indians getting aware of such a geographical wonderer that is part of their Bharat Mata, and Ladakhpas seeing their income growing up proportionally to the significant increase of newcomers and national visitors extending the season.
However, I am far more cautious and definitely less enthusiastic regarding the ‘side effects’ of this sudden massive invasion of huge groups approaching the frozen waters down the deep gorges of Zanskar with what appear an absolute lack of any environmental consciousness. The impact of this careless tourism is plainly dramatic.
I had done my previous Chadar expeditions “ Zanskarpa Style “: a local guide, a porter with a sledge and a happy myself loaded with my own backpack. We were used to progress with constant wonderment, sleeping in the cave and warming up with the wood found nearby. We used to bury pieces of yak meat and tsampa wrapped in goat skin bags on some strategic points that we marked with stones or branches for our return trip. Sleeping under a zillion stars or a galaxy of dancing snowflakes, sharing the cave and the fire with the local travelers, singing songs and telling jokes, hearing stories, and confronting my fun approach of the trip with the villagers on their ways to bring back their kids to boarding schools after the winter vacation, in order to assure them a better life and a brighter future. Meeting Zanskarpas carrying a sick family member on a sledge to bring him to the hospital for a scheduled operation did put some strong new perspectives to my own journey on the ice.
But this Febuary 2014 was a complete different story and I was definitely not prepared for it. I witnessed an invasion of Indian tourists groups, hiking prudently on the ice and guided by what appeared to be very professional trekking agencies…. if opinion is exclusively based on the contingent of sleeping tents, kitchen tent, the army of cooks, porters and helpers that were escorting those groups leaded by knowledgeable guides. As I pop up my hidden head out of my sleeping bag in the early morning, my eyes went through high trauma staring in total disbelief in a Hiroshima of garbage. Empty bottles of Whisky, chocolate bars papers, empty cans were all over the place: a chaotic and ugly leftovers of rubbish. Those groups were profanely littering the Chadar. It was a vicious torture of nature. The impermanent shapes of the nature metamorphosing with the seasons were suffocating under piles of permanent human trash creations. As we started walking, I picked up empty cigarets packets, hand warmer wrappings, chewing gums wrappers, and Kit-Kat papers. Wrapping made of plastic, cellophane, cardboard, alluminium. Packaging of all sorts, tins and cans were covering the ice and giving the place a look of garbage dump. An offense for the eyes. An insult for the nature. And a huge disrespect for the water that maintains all lives, ours included.
Plastic takes about 450 years to vanish. An alluminium tin will stay around for about 200 years before decomposing completely, while cigarette filters will disappear after 50 years… Yet, visitors embarking on a 5 to 19 days Chadar Expedition leave behind those imprints for centuries and many generations to come.
While Ladakhi authorities are putting great efforts to rise the collective environmental consciousness through ad-campaigns in dual languages, some trekking agencies don’t seem concerned about the impact of trek-trash management. A lack of awareness shared by a majority of their clients. While the Himalayan panorama is being gradually blurred by garbage, environmental issues are being taught in schools, notice boards put in strategic city point for the approval eyes of the ecologist oriented minds, both locals and foreign, while being totally unnoticed by a vast majority. Who then, could turn out uncaring habits into eco-friendly automatisms?
The next generation who is being environmentally educated by the present institutions?
“You do not inherit the earth from your ancestors: you borrow it from your children” said Antoine de Saint Exupery. My friend, Tsetan Namgyal, who is a native from the remote Trans Shenge-la area and only 11 years old is obviously wise enough to understand this, even if he is still just a kid: his illustration of trekkers passing through his village and the impact it has on the villagers strongly cleared out the recently trashed Himalayan panorama. With his sensitive drawing Tsetan brought his young perspective and perception of his environment with such respectful maturity that my hope rise as high as the high mountains passes.


Abrogation of Article 370 must for UT status: Gadkari

May 26, 2014

LEH (LADAKAH),: Reiterating his Party’s commitment for grant of UT status to Ladakh region, former national president of BJP, Nitin Gadkari has asked the Partymen to gear up for coming Assembly elections in the State and work hard to give the Party an absolute majority in the Assembly for abrogation of Article 370.

Addressing a victory rally here, on May 18, organized by the Party for winning the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat for the first time and creating a history in the State, Mr Gadkari said for granting UT status to Ladakh region abrogation of Article 370 which gives special status to J&K State is must.

He said if BJP is voted to power in the State in the coming Assembly elections also it will abrogate the Article 370 which will ultimately pave the way for grant of UT status to the region, a long cherished demand of the people of Ladakh.

Mr Gadkari also congratulated the people of the region for the victory of Party candidate Thupstan Chhewang from this Parliamentary Constituency and complimented them for voting in favour of the Party.

Taking a dig at National Conference (NC), he asked the people to defeat the father -son duo Party in the State also as they defeated the mother- son party at Delhi because the two parties were the main cause for all the mess in the country as well as in this border State.

The BJP leader, while assuring full support to the people in development of  Ladakh region, said all the promises made in the elections will be fulfilled which included construction of Zojila Tunnel, inclusion of Boti language into 8th Schedule of Indian Constitution, opening of Kailash -Mansarovar road for yatris via Ladakh etc.

While referring to the growing demand of the people for opening of Central University in Ladakh, Mr Gadkari said that in case the impediments were created in its way, the Government will encourage the private sector for opening a University in Ladakh on the pattern of other States of the country to provide the opportunities to students of this region for higher education so that they have not to go outside for the same.

Addressing the rally, BJP co-convener J&K and MLA Delhi, R P Singh allayed the fears that BJP was against any section of society and said that party believes in justice to all and appeasement to none.

He said BJP is secular in true sense as it did not believe in appeasement policy like Congress and others for vote bank politics. These parties exploited minorities for last over 60 years for vote bank and did nothing for their upliftment and betterment practically, he added.

“To grind their own axe Congress created a false notion among the people that BJP is anti Muslims when there is nothing like that, he said, adding after the BJP Government is installed at New Delhi, equal attention will be paid for the development of all regions and there will be no discrimination on the basis of region or religion.

He said the BJP Government will pay special attention for the development of backward areas of Ladakh region by constructing hospitals, roads etc. The Government will also concentrate on boosting solar energy in Ladakh to make the region power surplus, he added.

Addressing the rally, newly elected MP from Ladakh Thupstan Chhewang thanked the people of the region for voting in favour of the Party and ensuring his victory.

He said he will strive hard for fulfilling the promises made by him during the campaigning.

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