Ladakh groups say ready for unconditional talks with Centre

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KARGIL — Softening their stand, the groups spearheading the agitation in Ladakh Union Territory for statehood and sixth schedule on Tuesday said that they are ready to hold unconditional talks with New Delhi but won’t give up their four-point agenda.

Addressing a news conference in Kargil after holding a joint meeting, leaders of the Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) today said that they were always ready to hold talks with the Government of India.

Addressing a joint press conference, co-chairman of Kargil Democratic Alliance Asgar Ali Karbalai, as per the news agency KNO, said that they are committed to their four-point demand which includes full-fledged statehood for Ladakh, Sixth Schedule, separate Lok Sabha seats for Kargil & Leh districts and jobs for the educated youth of Ladakh.

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He said that in today’s meeting, Leh Apex Body and KDA have decided that they are ready to hold talks with the Government of India. “We have never run away from holding talks with the government on our agenda,” he said.

He said the Government of India, the Home Ministry in particular, should initiate concrete steps to hold talks with the LAB and KDA. “No recruitment should take place without Ladakh Resident Certificate,” he added.

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On Ladakh, MP Jamyang Namgyal’s claim that granting of the Sixth Schedule would weaken Hill Councils, former MP and chairman of LAB Thupstan Chewang said the Hill Councils won’t be disempowered by the Sixth Schedule.

“We know it is only the Sixth Schedule that can provide safeguards to Ladakh,” he said while advising BJP MP Jamyang Namgyal to properly go through the provisions of the schedule.

He said the powers have been taken away from Hill Councils after granting of UT status to Ladakh.

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