Citing Discrimination, Kargil To Celebrate R-Day Separately

The partial representation through the tableau has created a fresh controversy in the cold desert, with Muslim-majority Kargil region for the first time deciding to celebrate R-Day separately.

IN a first, the Kargil region of the Ladakh is going to celebrate the January 26 celebrations separately as a mark of protest against the administration for “ignoring Kargil in its tableau to be displayed on Republic Day in New Delhi”.

A call in this regard was given by Anjuman-e-Jamiat-ul-Ulama Isna Asharia, popularly known as the Islamia School Kargil.

The top religious body appealed people to skip the government sponsored function and gather at Isna-Asharia chowk Kargil to celebrate the 72th republic day separately.

“We are appalled to see the discrimination from the administration in the name of religion and have decided to ignore the Republic Day celebrations by the new Union Territory administration,” Sheikh Nazeer Muhamadi, president of the Islamia School Kargil, told Kashmir Observer over phone.

“We are being ignored in every aspect and every time since August 5. This time the tableau to be displayed on Republic Day is representing just one particular community and culture, while Muslims are being deliberately ignored. So we decided to celebrate the republic day at our own level as a mark of protest.”

This is for the first time Kargil will be celebrating the republic day separately, Muhamadi said.

On January 23, the chairman of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil, wrote a letter to the Lt. Governor of Ladakh, complaining that Kargil’s religious and cultural ethos have been ignored in the Union Territory’s Republic Day parade tableau.

Stating that since this is the first time ever that Ladakh will have a tableau of its own on Republic Day, LAHDC (Kargil) chairman Feroz Ahmed Khan said that every region should be represented on the tableau.

“It is unfortunate to note that only a single aspect of Ladakhi culture has been incorporated for display on Ladakh’s Republic Day 2021 tableau, thereby failing to showcase the rich and diverse religious-cultural fabric of Ladakh. It is felt that partial representation of the UT at an event as prominent as the Republic Day celebration alienates the people of Kargil district,” Khan’s letter stated.

It is for the first time that a tableau from the newly created Union Territory of Ladakh will participate in the Republic Day Parade on Rajpath this year.

Ladakh’s tableau depicts the iconic Thiksey Monastery located on top of a hill in Thinness in Leh district, and is one of the most-visited tourist sites in the region.

The architecture of the monastery resembles the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, the former official seat of the Dalai Lamas.

The tableau also showcases the Ladakh union territory’s vision of becoming ‘carbon neutral’ based on geothermal potential, solar energy, among others.

“Administration is behaving undemocratically and partially and it’s unfortunate that it is going to showcase the culture of one particular community,” Sajad Hussain Kargili, prominent social and political activist from Kargil, told Kashmir Observer.

Pertinently, the newly-created union territory of Ladakh includes Budhisht-dominated Leh district and Muslim-majority Kargil district.

The two communities have been at loggerheads for long but the 2019 decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and carve out a separate Union Territory of Ladakh has deepened the divide. Muslims opposed the move while the Buddhists celebrated.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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