Ladakh Division Row: Thousands Protest In Kargil Amid Shutdown

KARGIL — Despite freezing tem­peratures, thousands of people hit the streets here on Tuesday against the new divisional setup for Ladakh even as government offices and business establish­ments remained closed for the fourth consecutive day.

The scope and size of division level offices, their staffing and location for the newly-formed division for Ladakh region has triggered protests in Kargil, where people are demanding amendment of Government's SRO 110 and rotational head­quarters at both Kargil and Leh.

The protestors were led by re­ligious, political and social lead­ers. Business establishments and all government offices including LAHDC Secretariat, DC Office, and the local court remained closed across the dis­trict as protests continued for the fourth day. Arrangements were being made for protes­tors from far- flung areas and a women’s organization from Ba­roo Colony even served tea and snacks to people. Speakers who addressed the protest thanked the people of Kargil for support­ing the cause and helping what they termed as a movement against SRO 110.

They urged the government to take immediate step in fulfill­ing the demands of the people of Kargil. The ‘Joint Resistance Movement Against SRO 110’ has been spearheading the protests and has issued a shutdown call for closure of government of­fices from till their demands are fulfilled. The Employees Joint Action Committee Kargil has also extended its support to the call. On Tuesday, thousands of protestors marched from Islamic School Chowk towards DC Office with black flags in their hands and staged a day-long protest there. Last night more than 3000 people had assembled at Larse Masjid and blocked the NH 1D forcing the new divisional com­missioner to return to Leh from Wakha. The government Tuesday reiterated that it has taken “note of the sentiments of the people of Kargil, following the decision to create a new Administrative / Revenue Division of Ladakh.”

An official spokesman said that ameeting of public repre­sentatives was convened by the Deputy Commissioner Vikas Kundal here to assess the situ­ation in the district.

“Superintendent of Police Dr Vinod Kumar besides other concerned officers of the Civil and Police Administration and representatives of religious and political organizations were present at the meeting.

It was decided in the meet­ing that shops and transporta­tion services will resume from tomorrow,” the spokesman said.

The DC urged the representa­tives of the religious, political, social and other organizations to be patient and cooperate with the District Administra­tion. He said that the Admin­istration is fully conscious of peoples’ sentiments and is in continuous touch with the State Administration for early resolu­tion of their issues.

Rejecting the constitution of a committee to look the rota­tional headquarters at Kargil and Leh, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) termed the measure a mere delaying tactic taken by the Governor administration in Jammu and Kashmir.

“If the Governor administra­tion didn’t feel need to consult anybody in doing what they have done, why should they constitute a committee for do­ing obvious and giving justice to another district,” said PDP se­nior leader and Former Minister Naeem Akhtar. He added that the best solution to the problem is to make headquarter of the recently formed division rota­tional and is made to function in Kargi during summers and in Leh during winters.

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Tuesday impressed upon governor administration to issue immediate orders of keeping newly announced La­dakh division headquarters on rotational basis between Leh and Kargil. Omar Abdullah said that one fails to understand as to why the incumbent governor administration has tangled the decision of giving due share to Kargil in administrative redta­peism. “Government announce­ment of forming a committee of secretaries to look into the demand of rotational divisional headquarters is a measure to buy time. When the incum­bent governor administration was mulling to grant divisional status to ladakh then it should have taken into consideration the genuine sentiment of Leh, Kargil and other adjoining areas into consideration while de­ciding on the establishment of divisional headquarters. Kargil too should have been given its due share which didn’t happen for reasons known to adminis­tration,” he said

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