On Saturday, Ladakh’s Leh district experienced significant protest rallies, with a large number of participants coming together to voice their demands for statehood, inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, job reservation, and parliamentary seats. These rallies reflect the growing discontent among the residents of Ladakh following its reorganization in 2019, when it was separated from Jammu and Kashmir and established as a union territory without a legislative assembly. The demand for statehood is primarily driven by the desire for greater autonomy and local governance, allowing Ladakh to have its own elected government that can address the unique needs and aspirations of its people.
The inclusion in the Sixth Schedule is another critical demand, as it would provide constitutional protection to the tribal rights of Ladakh’s predominantly Buddhist population, safeguarding their land and resources from external pressures and exploitation. This move is seen as essential for preserving the cultural and ecological heritage of the region, which is characterized by its fragile environment and distinct social fabric. The protesters also highlighted the need for job reservation policies to ensure employment opportunities for the local youth, addressing concerns over their future in the face of increasing external migration and competition.
Moreover, the demand for dedicated parliamentary seats for Ladakh underscores the region’s quest for a stronger representation in the Indian Parliament, enabling it to voice its concerns and participate more effectively in the national decision-making process. The rallies in Leh district are a manifestation of the deep-rooted issues and aspirations of the Ladakhi people, signaling a critical juncture in their struggle for recognition, rights, and development. As the calls for statehood, Sixth Schedule inclusion, job reservation, and parliamentary seats grow louder, the central government faces increasing pressure to address these demands, which are pivotal for the socio-political and economic empowerment of Ladakh.