66-day hunger strike for Ladakh’s statehood ends

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Environmentalist Sonam Wangchuk along with his supporters during the hunger strike
Environmentalist Sonam Wangchuk along with his supporters during the hunger strike

SRINAGAR — After a marathon 66-day hunger strike demanding statehood and constitutional protection for Ladakh, environmentalist Sonam Wangchuck announced the end of the strike, citing the impending Lok Sabha elections and a commitment to maintaining peace during the electoral process.

As per the reports received by the news agency KNO, Wangchuck, flanked by supporters from the Leh Apex Body, emphasized the importance of ensuring a smooth electoral process without disruptions. With only 10 days remaining until the elections, he expressed the need to avoid any complications that could arise from the ongoing hunger strike.

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“We do not want any kind of problem in the elections. Therefore, we are ending the strike for now,” Wangchuck said. He further expressed hope that the issues concerning Ladakh’s statehood and constitutional safeguards would be addressed through the democratic process of voting and subsequent government actions.

Highlighting the core objectives of the hunger strike, Wangchuck reiterated its fundamental purpose. “Our strike was to save the culture, environment, and identity of the people of Ladakh,” he said.

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The hunger strike, which began in March and continued for over two months, garnered widespread support from various sections of Ladakhi society.

In March, Wangchuck initiated a 21-day hunger strike, which concluded on March 26. Subsequently, the movement gained momentum as youth, women, Buddhist monks, and elders in Leh joined in solidarity, staging consecutive days of hunger strikes in support of Wangchuck’s cause.

While the hunger strike has been temporarily suspended, Wangchuck emphasized the readiness to resume protests if necessary in the future.

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