New Ladakh divi­sion sparks row as Kargil dist protests

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - INDIA - DNA Cor­re­spon­dent cor­re­spon­[email protected]­dia.net

Srinagar: It is Kargil ver­sus Leh over a sep­a­rate Ladakh divi­sion. The carv­ing out of a sep­a­rate Ladakh divi­sion has stoked a ma­jor po­lit­i­cal row, with Kargil de­mand­ing a bian­nual ro­ta­tion of head­quar­ters be­tween the two dis­tricts of the desert and the Pir Pan­jal val­ley in Jammu also de­mand­ing a sim­i­lar sta­tus and threat­en­ing the gov­ern­ment with ag­i­ta­tions.

“If you want to grant di­vi­sional sta­tus to Leh, so be it. Please keep Kargil out of it. Let us stay with the Kash­mir divi­sion. We will not ac­cept the di­vi­sional sta­tus in its cur­rent form. It is an in­jus­tice to us. Un­less it is re­viewed and the ad­min­is­tra­tive head­quar­ter is posted six months each in Leh and Kargil, we will not ac­cept the de­ci­sion,” said Feroz Ah­mad Khan, chair­man of Ladakh Au­ton­o­mous Hill Devel­op­ment Coun­cil, Kargil, af­ter an all-party meet­ing.

On Fri­day, Jammu and Kash­mir gov­ern­ment carved out a sep­a­rate Ladakh divi­sion with its head­quar­ter at Leh. Se­nior IAS of­fi­cer Sau­gat Biswas was ap­pointed the first di­vi­sional com­mis­sioner of the divi­sion.

The Na­tional Con­fer­ence ques­tioned the de­ci­sion of keep­ing the head­quar­ters of Ladakh divi­sion at Leh say­ing it is dis­crim­i­na­tory to the in­ter­ests of Kargil district and other ad­join­ing ar­eas.

“Ever since the de­ci­sion was made pub­lic, a num­ber of voices have come out from Kargil protest­ing against what they call an un­fair de­ci­sion. We re­ceived a num­ber of calls from the ag­grieved peo­ple of Kargil ex­press­ing their dis­ap­proval of the de­ci­sion to keep the di­vi­sional head­quar­ter per­ma­nently at Leh,” said Nasir As­lam Wani, pro­vin­cial pres­i­dent of Na­tional Con­fer­ence.

Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party too joined the cho­rus de­mand­ing a ro­ta­tional shift­ing of head­quar­ters to as­suage peo­ple’s feel­ings. “Keep­ing the head­quar­ter per­ma­nently at one place is to­tal dis­crim­i­na­tion with the other area, so the best op­tion is to keep the head­quar­ter in both, Leh and Kargil, on ro­ta­tional ba­sis,” said Me­hbooba Mufti, PDP pres­i­dent.

Even as Kargil and Leh were fight­ing the po­lit­i­cal bat­tle, lead­ers from Pir Pan­jal val­ley threat­ened an ag­i­ta­tion if Ra­jouri and Poonch dis­tricts of Jammu are not granted di­vi­sional sta­tus. Se­nior Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party leader Chowd­hary Zul­fikar Ali threat­ened protests if the re­gion is not granted di­vi­sional sta­tus.

—FILE PHOTO

A mar­ket square in Ladakh

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