Buddhists End 6-year-old Social Boycott of Zanskar Muslims

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SRINAGAR — The Buddhists on Monday ended nearly a six-year long social boycott of Muslim minority community of about 600 people in Zanskar division of Kargil district in Ladakh region.

Actually, a pact was reached between the majority community Buddhists with Muslims at the best of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Reports said that on July 22, an important meeting took place under the chairmanship of Dalia Lama at Duzing Photang Zanskar. The meeting was specifically called for resolving long pending issues between the two communities.

During the meeting, a peace committee was formed comprising six members each from both communities and they requested Deputy Commissioner Kargil to be the chairperson/co-ordinator of panel. After the meeting all the members accepted and put their signatures on the agreement note which was also countersigned by SSP Kargil and SDM Zanskar.

On Monday, the Tibetan spiritual leader called upon the peace committee members on preaching stage and advised both the communities to maintain ‘Communal Harmony’ in future in Zanskar Valley. He stressed on resolving all the issues once and for all. In case of any issue arising between the communities in future, the peace committee members will sit together and will resolving the issues instantly under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner Kargil Ladakh.

The majority Buddhist community, which makes up over 95% of the population in the sub-division, socially boycotted the Muslims for more than six years. Local people from the minority community alleged that the Zanskar Buddhist Association (ZBA) had enforced the social boycott after four Buddhist families, comprising of 22 members, converted to Islam in October 2012.

The families continue to live in Zanskar, practising their new faith, but since then, relations between the two communities deteriorated. Several meeting called by the local administration over the years have failed to end the social boycott.  

The local Muslim maintained that the four families converted to Islam out of ‘their free will without any coercion’. “The Buddhist association had alleged that they were converted by force, which is not true and those families are still living here and continue to practice their new faith,” the local resident of Zanskar said.  

The Muslims had been suffering economically over the years as the majority Buddhist community in Zanskar refused to trade with them, even boycotting shops belonging to the minority community in the Zanskar town market. As per local Muslims, they were also struggling to get shops on rent in Zanskar.   

 

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