The Kargil variant
When he spoke in the Lok Sabha during the discussion on nullification of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K on August 6, BJP Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal made quite a mark. Not only did that particular speech go viral, he has become the charmingly articulate poster child of celebrations of Ladakh’s new status as a union territory. In the picture he painted vividly that day, this move would be welcomed in both Leh and Kargil equally because it had been much longed for in both areas. Now that there is increasing reportage to the contrary, where Kargil seems to be receiving the bifurcation with much more anxiety than Leh, it is interesting to look back at what Namgyal told the country that Tuesday, in that viral but possibly misleading speech.
On the question of signs of resistance being seen in Kargil, the MP said in his speech that, “There is an attempt to mislead the House. I come elected from Kargil. I can say with pride that the people of Kargil have voted for UT. I want to remind the House that in the 2014 parliamentary election UT was top in our Ladakh manifesto. And a majority of Ladakh people voted for UT. In the 2019 election we brought back UT in the manifesto. And in both districts, whether of the Buddhists or Muslims, Leh or Kargil, in every region, at the door of every people we explained what this UT is. And of all the parliamentary elections in Ladakh so far, people voted with a record majority to send me to this House. People put their faith in Modi government. People welcomed this UT.
They are talking of Kargil today. Do they know this Kargil? I have no hesitation is saying in this House. Then Union home minister Rajnath Singh had come to Leh, all party parliamentary delegation had gone to Jammu, to Kashmir and you came to Leh … Whole of Ladakh, every political party, BJP, Congress, PDP, NC, together with every religious organization, whether the Ladakh Buddhist association, Anjuman Imamia association, Moin ul Islam, Christian association, Hindu Mahasabha, everyone said in one voice, that we want UT. Rajnath Singhji was asking what else do you want? And we said we don’t want anything else, only UT.”
However, as Himanshi Dhawan reported from the ground yesterday, actually the sentiment among many in Kargil is that the decision to declare Kargil a part of Ladakh union territory has been taken without consulting Kargil’s political leaders, which has broken the trust between the Centre and the people, and left Kargil simmering in anger and frustration. Former minister in the NC government Qamar Ali Akhoon tells her: “We have a historical connection with J&K. How can we be cut off from them now?” Namgyal emphasizes how the UT status will help overcome the long marginalization of Ladakh, but this is evidently not true of those in Kargil who have felt shortchanged by Leh as much as by Srinagar.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.