KARGIl – Black-day was being observed on Thursday in Kargil district of Ladakh region, where R K Mathur this morning took oath of office as first Lt Governor of the Union Territory at Leh.
Meanwhile, strike also continued for the third consecutive day on Thursday in Kargil in protest against alleged discrimination with this border district in Ladakh region which has now became Union Territory (UT) today after bifurcation of the Jammu and Kashmir.
The state was bifurcated into two UTs—Ladakh region and Jammu and Kashmir–after scrapping Article 370 and 35 A on August 5 by the centre.
Peaceful protests would be held later in the afternoon, Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Kargil, heading the agitation said. The JAC had called for a three-day strike from October 29 alleging that assurance given by then Governor Satya Pal Malik and state Chief Secretary about 14 point demands were not fulfilled so far.
Shops and business establishments remained closed for the third day today and traffic was also off the roads in Kargil, which hit the headlines across the globe in 1999 when Pakistani intruders occupied all heights at Line of Control (LoC). It took later about four months to push back the intruders. Work in government offices, banks and educational institutions was badly hit due to strike.
The Ladakh finally became UT after Mathur was administered oath of office by Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir Justice Geeta Mittal at Leh this morning.
Secretary JAC Kargil Nasir Hussain Munshi alleged that assurance given to people of Kargil district was not fulfilled by the government.
When divisional status was granted to Ladakh region, people of Kargil voiced their concern and said they wanted to remain with the Kashmir valley. However, protest was withdrawn after it was agreed that Divisional Commissioner will stay for six months each on rotational basis at Leh and Kargil.
He said after the UT was announced for Ladakh, people of Kargil again hit the streets demanding justice as it was announced that Lt Gov and other senior top bureaucrats will function from Leh. It was only after Mr Malik and Chief Secretary visited Kargil and met JAC and other representatives, a 14 charter of demands was presented before them. Governor agreed to immediately address the grievances which are within the jurisdiction of state and approach centre to resolve other demands of the JAC, Munshi claimed.
“We demand that the office of Lt Governor and other bureaucrats should also function on rotational basis—six months in Leh and six months in Kargil–, he said.
Mr Munshi said demanded guarantee that land and employment rights of people of Kargil will not be affected. He feared that after scrapping of special status of the state, anyone can buy land and get employment in Ladakh.
We demand a local Service Selection Board (SSB) for Leh and Kargil, he said adding the students of Ladakh region cannot compete with the students of other parts of the country where appointments are being made through Public Service Commission (PSC) and other central agencies. The youths of Kargil will lose employment opportunities to outsiders, he alleged.