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Tuesday 25 December 2007

LUTF urges PM to hasten grant of UT status

NEW DELHI, Dec 24: Stating that a reign of terror had been let loose by the State Government in Leh, a delegation of the Ladakh Union Territory Front (LUTF) today urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to expedite granting Union Territory status to Ladakh.
Led by Thupstan Chhewang, MP and LUTF President, the delegation called on Dr Singh and urged him to include the Bhoti language in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution and open the Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage through Leh.
It pointed out that Bhoti was spoken by almost all inhabitants of border Himalayan regions in the country. The elevation of the language would boost their "confidence and self-esteem." The opening of Leh route for the Kailash-Mansarovar yatra would usher in prosperity in Ladakh, the delegation said.
Making a strong case for UT, the delegation pointed out that the Congress-led State Government was treating the duly-elected Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC-Leh) with utter contempt. It stated: "A reign of terror and repression has been let loose against us. The police has been set upon on us as a clearly pre-meditated strategy to browbeat us into submission."
It referred in this regard to the forcible closure of the headquarters of the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), framing of false criminal including murder and attempt to murder charges against its office-bearers, police assault on an elected LUTF councillor, disrespect being shown to the Chairman and Chief Executive Councillor of the LAHDC and a campaign of calumny against the LUTF chief.
"We continue to be deprived of many financial and legislative powers. Our experience has been worse with key police and administrative officials remote-controlled from Srinagar. They hardly show any appreciation of basic tenets of democracy and our distinct and unique ethnic and linguistic identity. How can policemen or bureaucrats be allowed to ride roughshod over a democratic dispensation? How can they treat our social and religious organisations with utter contempt? Their wrong-doings have strengthened our resolve to keep striving for Union Territory to strengthen what we regard as our umbilical chord with New Delhi, the deleagation said."
The members of the delegation were: Tsering Dorjey, Chairman and Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (Leh). Sonam Wangchuk Norboo, MLA, Nubra, Tsering Angdus and Tsewang Tondup (Councillors), Lobzang Nyantak (senior LUTF leader), Dorjey Stanzin, Stanzin Delik, Tsering Angchuk, Jigmet Namgyal, Sonam Tsering, Nawang Norboo, Chotar Tsering, Tsering Paldan, Tondup Spalzang, Phunchok Stanzin,, Sonam Dorjey and Dorjey Namgyal (all councillors).

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