Com­mu­nal ten­sion at peak in Leh, as dead­line ends for Kargil Mus­lims to leave

The Sunday Guardian - - Nation -

Com­mu­nal pas­sions are run­ning high in Leh where the Ladakh Bud­dhist As­so­ci­a­tion (LBA) had asked hun­dreds of peo­ple from Kargil, who work in Leh dur­ing the sum­mer sea­son, to leave by Thurs­day. Al­though the 14 Septem­ber dead­line has ex­pired, ten­sions are run­ning high and many of the Kargil traders have left Leh fear­ing back­lash.

The LBA “edict” fol­lowed a Bud­dhist girl from Leh elop­ing with a Mus­lim boy of the re­gion. The fam­ily of the girl had com­plained that they were not be­ing al­lowed to speak to their daugh­ter. This in­fu­ri­ated LBA lead­ers, who said in a pub­lic rally held last week in Leh, “Kargil Mus­lims can­not earn their liveli­hood in Leh and also snatch our girls.” LBA claimed that more than 60,000 peo­ple in­clud­ing peo­ple from Kargil and Kash­mir come to Leh dur­ing the tourist sea­son and earn their bread and but­ter. They blamed the re­li­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions of Kargil for pa­tro­n­is­ing and pro­tect­ing crim­i­nal el­e­ments and also the boys who force the Bud­dhist girls to marry them.

Soon af­ter the threat is­sued by the LBA, Kargil Mus­lim or­gan­i­sa­tions, es­pe­cially the Is­lamia School of Kargil, wrote to Jammu and Kash­mir Chief Min­is­ter Me­hbooba Mufti and asked her to en­sure the se­cu­rity and safety of all Kargil fam­i­lies who are presently in Leh. The dis­trict au­thor­i­ties of Leh told this newspaper that they have taken all the pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures and will not al­low any­one to take the law in their own hands. But ac­cord­ing to Kargil busi­ness­men and some busi­ness­men from Kash­mir, on Friday, the prom­i­nent Chandu Mar­ket re­mained closed as most of the shops and tea stalls on the main road in Leh be­long to Mus­lims from Kargil and Kash­mir. “We feel threat­ened and most of us are not go­ing to the mar­ket,” a Kargil busi­ness­men told this newspaper.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, the in­ter-re­li­gious mar­riage be­tween a Bud­dhist girl and a Mus­lim boy cre­ated ten­sion in the en­tire re­gion. The po­lice said that the girl’s fam­ily ap­proached them and reg­is­tered a com­plaint about their miss­ing daugh­ter. The po­lice fi­nally traced the girl in Jammu and dis­patched a team to bring her back to Leh along with her brother. How­ever, when the po­lice team from Leh reached there on 8 Septem­ber, they re­ceived a Court or­der in­struct­ing them not to ha­rass the cou­ple. The LBA and the fam­ily mem­bers of the girl claim that their daugh­ter was not al­lowed to speak to them and if she has gone out of her choice why has she been made in­ac­ces­si­ble. Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice Uday Bhaskar said that Leh town was flooded with tourists and they have taken all the mea­sures to keep the sit­u­a­tion un­der con­trol. The dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion also held a peace meet­ing on Friday af­ter­noon with three ma­jor re­li­gious groups in Leh town—the LBA, An­ju­mane-Imamyia and An­ju­man-eMoin-ul-Is­lam. Kim Kar­dashian, a well­known Amer­i­can re­al­ity TV per­son­al­ity and ac­tress, has been sur­pris­ingly linked to Kash­mir af­ter ar­chae­ol­o­gists named a beau­ti­ful pot, dis­cov­ered at an ap­ple or­chard at Haigam in So­pore, as Kim.

Mum­taz Itoo, the ar­chae­ol­o­gist who came to the Haigam or­chard, known as Qasim Bagh, dur­ing his re­search days, told this newspaper that they came across this en­tirely in­tact pot dur­ing ex­ca­va­tions in the or­chard. “As it was very beau­ti­ful and volup­tuous in shape, we all nick-named it Kim Kar­dashian,” Itoo told this reporter, al­lud­ing to Kim Kar­dashian’s phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance. He said this was the first “in­tact” pot dis­cov­ered by them, which be­longs to the Ne­olithic pe­riod. The pot is said to be 4,800 years old. How­ever, the govern­ment of­fi­cials in the Cul­ture and Tourism Depart­ment de­nied any knowl­edge of the pot be­ing named af­ter the Amer­i­can re­al­ity TV star.

“I am not aware of this dis­cov­ery and its name. It

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