New Ladakh division sparks row as Kargil dist protests
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.
A market square in Ladakh