Rethinking UT Ladakh

One who accepts or reject things without any reason is out of rational human category says Rumi.

The Central Government in a significant decision bifurcated the State of Jammu and Kashmir among two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. People in Leh district welcomed the move while Kargil resented. The decision fuelled debates in both the districts over the pros and cons of the new order. Community elders in Leh conducted a meeting, and Kargil formed a Joint Action Committee. The advocates of UT argue that Ladakh can move ahead and fulfil its aspirations as Ladakh region and not as a subsidiary of any other part. This author argues that Ladakh, as a unit, will always remain subsidiary to either Central (as UT) or State (as region) government. Ladakh has to decide on the appropriate one. The below points would determine what is necessary: UT or Statehood?

First, thinkers argue that “cultural distinctiveness, strategic importance and special treatment and care of the backward and tribal people are very much applicable for creation of Union Territory of Ladakh”. The former J&K State with special status fulfils the three consideration; so, this reason stands null. J&K State with special status had protected them all. However, now in the new order called UT, protection of any such kind is not guaranteed. Including Ladakh in Scheduled Tribal Area is uncertain because the reorganisation bill mentions nothing about it. Thus, the argument “Union Territory is good” has many “ifs” and “buts”. If we are protected under Scheduled Tribe Area; if our land remains protected under Fifth Schedule; if our jobs are protected are all uncertain. Losing a thing in hand for something unpredictable is not rational.

Secondly, to fight for the above-said protections, Ladakh’s pressure is very ineffective as they are small in number. But to fight for the restoration of Special Status of J&K is much easier as they have a more significant like-minded force in Kashmir, Jammu, activists in other parts of the country and an international community. In future also, if Ladakh needs to make pressure on authorities for any demand, they would be incapable. In a state, a region like Ladakh can quickly build pressure because of being one-third of the State. But it will be difficult for a small UT like Ladakh to pressurise the government in Delhi. In a State, Ladakh could aspire in both Legislation and Parliament. Besides, the State also would fight for their demands. This reorganisation move has declined Ladakh’s strength.

Thirdly, Ladakh is demanding all the protections that they had under the Special Status of Jammu and Kashmir. Leh leaders, by advocating for changes in Article 370 has led to the removal of similar protections from Kashmir and Jammu, but they are demanding the same for themselves, which is unethical and selfishness. According to some Kargili leaders, such “wicked policy” is not what their “Vichar Dhara” taught.

Fourthly, on share in annual Budget, Ladakh as Division in the State of J&K is much benefitted than as a Union Territory. Other Union territories without legislation, like Daman and Diu (2.43 Lakh population), with an area of 111 sq. km got 821.48 crores in Annual Budget 2018-19; Dadra and Nagar Haveli (3.44 Lakh) with an area of 491 sq. km got 1177.99 Crore. Another Union territory with Legislation, Puducherry (12.48 Lakh) with an area of 490 sq. km got 1601 Crore. Ladakh (2.74 lakh) has a total area of 59146 sq. km gets three to five times more than other UTs.

J&K Budget used to divide in the ratio of 70:30 percent. Thirty per cent is for district plan under which both Leh and Kargil gets 100 Crore each. In the remaining 70 percent of the total budget (80313 Crore in 2018-19), that makes approx. 56000 Crore, Ladakh as a separate division entitled to at least 30 percent. But if they get only 10 percent, even then Ladakh entitled for 5600 Crore which is four to five times more than the Budget for other Union Territories. Here Ladakh have to realise what they have lost.

Fifth, some argue that employees would get an increment in Salaries. Employees would indeed get an increase in salaries but at a prohibitive cost. Ladakh as UT, if fail to get land protection, its demography will change. Lands will be polluted; water is already scarce, and polluted air would be dangerous in an already dry climate. Unemployment will increase. People’s purchasing power will decline, and the products will be expensive. So, in such a situation, an increase in wage has no meaning.

Sixth, in the recently declared Divisional Status, and the delimitation of 2024, Ladakh entitled to more MLCs, MLAs, MPs and at least one member in the Rajya Sabha also. But now Ladakh is degraded from a State to Union Territory, that too without legislation. Ladakh lost political rights. Youths’ political aspirations have usurped.

Seventh, one major mistake, most of the leaders in Ladakh and Jammu is to look Article 370 and 35A as protection of Kashmir region only. Maharaja Hari Singh initiated the essential part of the Article, restriction on the purchase of land by outsiders, in 1927 for protection of Jammu region from wealthy outsider merchants. These restrictions are for the good of the whole State irrespective of region. Its abrogation or change expose land, culture, identity and language to external threats and pollution.

Eighth, abrogation/change of Article 370 and 35A gives the Centre government an upper hand to do whatever they want with Ladakh. For greater national interest, Ladakh might be forced to merge with another country like Pakistan or China. It is not impossible; because under the Land Boundary Agreement 2015 between India and Bangladesh, India transferred 17158 acres of land (111 villages) along with a population of 37369 to Bangladesh. For a broader national interest history could repeat in Ladakh as well.

Legally defining, this move has challenged in the Supreme Court. As per constitutional experts, this decision wronged in many aspects. There is every chance to restore it if the court order comes in favour. If not restored, resisting against this decision would lead Ladakh to a higher negotiation value; probably UT with legislation. Thus, this author suggests not to bow immediately. Show patience; resist the move; aspire for a much greater share.

This article was firstly appeared in the Weekly Voice of Ladakh on 09 September 2019, Volume 7 | Issue 32. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Ladakh Express team.

Understanding UT LADAKH


By: Dr MNM Shabani

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

These words of the man who was instrumental in gaining us liberty from two centuries of slavery is very much relevant to our times now specifically to the leadership and people of my homeland Kargil.

Under Article 1 of the Constitution, the territory of India comprises three categories of which only two territories as territories of the states and union territories are in existence. At present there are twenty eight states and nine union territories as the state of Jammu and Kashmir is substituted with two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. The states are the members of the federal system in India and share a distribution of power with the Centre while the union territories, on the other hand, are those areas which are under the direct control and administration of the Central government hence also known as centrally administered territories.

THE JAMMU AND KASHMIR REORGANISATION BILL, 2019 paved way for creation of union territory Ladakh as with the introduction of this bill the very special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir stands abrogated with two third majority in both the houses of parliament. The conferment of Union Territory Ladakh is welcomed in Leh district but in Kargil the leadership as well as people are unable to express a vivid discourse hence am compelled to write this article for better understanding of the concept myself as well as for the educated youth so that our discourses is based on reasons rather than emotions.

The union territories have been created for a variety of reasons such as Political and Administrative consideration – Delhi and Chandigarh, Cultural distinctiveness – Puducherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Strategic importance – Andaman and Nicobar islands, Special treatment and care of the backward and tribal people – Lakshadweep. The three objects of cultural distinctiveness, strategic importance and special treatment and care of the backward and tribal people are very much applicable for creation of Union Territory of Ladakh, however, the STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS of the bill states that “The Ladakh Division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir has a large area but is sparsely populated with a very difficult terrain. There has been long pending demand of people of Ladakh, to give it the status of a Union Territory to enable them to realise their aspirations. The Union Territory of Ladakh will be without Legislature. ”  The object of large area, sparsely populated and difficult terrain is another distinctive nature of Ladakh considered for granting Union Territory beside a long pending demand.

Historical account of Ladakh do  reveal that the leadership of Leh district demanded the status of Union Territory right from the beginning of Independence but after bifurcation of Ladakh into Kargil and Leh district in the year 1979 no such demand was ever made by the leadership and people of Kargil district. Kargil district denounced the demand of Union Territory as Leh district’s object of demanding is to liberate from Kashmir centric political setup and Kargil historically always preferred Kashmir.  This inculcated a wrong spirit among the people of Kargil that any demand of more empowerment by the people of Leh will result in disassociation with Kashmir hence the leadership of Kargil remained very sceptical and insensitive to demands like Schedule Tribe and LAHDC status but later hugged seeing the benefits of it. Intensive projection of demands on communal grounds and apathy of Leh leadership towards Kashmir whereas a strong association and linkage of people of Kargil with Kashmir and with strong political association of Kargil with Kashmir based political parties always created sense of insecurity among people of Kargil to avail better opportunities in fear that they will be disown by political hierarchy of Kashmir. The association remained so strong that even being majority Muslim population in the district, people of Kargil never supported or shown inclination to any idea of separation from Indian state. The Kargil war of 1999 was also an instrumental opportunity for people of Kargil to exemplify their sense of nationalism and devotion to their mother land but was unable to capitalise their sacrifice into economic consideration from the Central government purely due to lack of strong political linkages with the Central government as well as ineffective leadership.

The year 2018-2019 seems good omen for the region Ladakh and in particular to district Kargil as significant development witnessed in regard to new political and administrative aspiration. United Kargil effort and more enthusiasm as compared to Leh in demanding Central University for Ladakh was an important shift of religious and political organisations of district Kargil thereby immediate rectification by state government of equal share in administrative setup of University of Ladakh Act,2018; the divisional status granted to Ladakh and its aftermath when during chilling winters of January 2019 the whole Kargil united came out on street expressing their resentment for injustice done and the massive rally in winter capital of the state amazed not only the state government but even the Centre that people of Kargil do now believe that they cannot be ignored or marginalised by any dispensation whatsoever of political ideology as far as their right of equal share and participation is guaranteed. Such events are rare in the history of political and administrative aspiration of Kargil and this need to be further directed and strengthen. The achievement so made was due to effective coordination, consultation with stakeholders and collective participation beside wide differences among different religious and political groups prevails. The historic dispensation of Divisional Status to Ladakh and proportionate share to both the district in administrative control has further the belief that Ladakh gets it due share when the state is controlled by the Central government whereas the popular government in the state of any political party would never have thought of such greater administrative autonomy as of the status of Divisional Status. If budget statistics of State Sector over the years are surfed we being the third region of the state got peanuts from the popular successive governments and our political leaderships are witnessed to it.  These are the very instances which must be always remembered by the people of Kargil and its political and religious leadership that we can move ahead and fulfil our aspiration as Ladakh region and not as a subsidiary of any other region. The gain of Union Territory Ladakh thus needs a different outlook and understanding than what we as of now.

It’s very evident that divisional status is a greater administrative autonomy and thereby Union Territory is highest except to the State status as far as better administrative control, economic prosperity and accessibility but due to the distinctiveness of the region both the district must be united to chalk out the modalities so that many reservations as well as safeguards which were available to our region under special status of the state could be the part of Union Territory of Ladakh. Under the constitution of India many other States as well as Union Territories are conferred with such provisions to safeguard their distinctive identity and culture.

Article 244 in Part X of the Constitution envisages a special system of administration for certain areas as designated as ‘scheduled areas’ and ‘tribal areas’. The Constitution, under Sixth Schedule, contains special provisions for the administration of tribal areas in the four north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. The tribal areas in these states are treated differently by the Constitution and sizeable amount of autonomy has been given to these people for self-government due to the fact that these tribal areas have not assimilated much the life and ways of other people in these states, on the other hand, still have their roots in their own culture, customs and civilizations. These tribal areas have been constituted autonomous districts of similar nature of LAHDC and enjoy privileges and safeguards so that their cultural and tribal distinctiveness remains protected. Shifting of Autonomous District Council to Regional Council under Union Territory Ladakh will be a milestone in promoting coexistence among different cultural, religious and linguistic identities of the region. The district or regional councils shall have power to make laws with respect to and can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, inheritance of property, can construct or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, roads and so on and are empowered to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes. In regard to land which is the biggest worry of every Ladakhi the Sixth Schdeule staes as: the allotment, occupation or use or the setting apart, of land, other than any land which is reserved forest for the purposes of agriculture or grazing or for residential or other non-agricultural purposes or for any other purpose likely to promote the interests of the inhabitants of any village or town, administer the areas under their jurisdiction. Further, The same Schedule to the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2003, Additional powers of the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council and the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council to make laws with respect to (a) Industries (b) Communication (c) Live Stocks (d) Primary and Secondary Education (e) Agriculture (f) Fisheries (g) Water (h) Social Security & Employment (i) Flood Control Schemes (j) Sports, Entertainment & Amusements (k) Public Health & Sanitation, Hospital & Dispensaries (l) minor irrigation (m) Trade & Commerce (n) Libraries & Museum.  In addition in the same Schedule the Bodoland Territorial Council within its areas shall have power to make laws in addition to areas mentioned earlier: (a) Cooperation (b) Cultural Affairs (c) Education including vocational and College Education (d) Food and Civil Supply (e) Handloom & Textile (f) Labour & Employment (g) Market Affairs (h) Municipal Corporations, Local Authorities (i) Panchayat & Rural Development (j) Planning & Development (k) Printing & Stationery (l) Public Health Engineering (m) Public Works Department (n) Publicity & Public Relations (o) Relief & Rehabilitations (p) Social Welfare (q) Soil Conservation (r) Statistics (s) Tourism (t) Urban Development. All the stated privileges can be availed by including the whole Ladakh region in Scheduled Tribal Area under Sixth Schedule. As per THE JAMMU AND KASHMIR REORGANISATION BILL, 2019 under TABLE-4 includes LADAKH AUTONOMOUS HILL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL ACT, 1997 as State Acts including Governor’s Act that shall remain in force in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir; and Union Territory of Ladakh. Both the Autonomous Councils must coordinate and collectively put forth the demand for strengthening existing LAHDC Act and inclusion of above provisions which were extended to the other Autonomous Councils of Cachar, Karbi Anglong and Bodoland. THE JAMMU AND KASHMIR REORGANISATION BILL, 2019 under para 66 states that the Constitution Jammu and Kashmir (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1989, shall stand applied to the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh. On the basis of same legislation wherein around 84% population belongs to Scheduled Tribe, Ladakh region may be included under Sheduled Tribe Area under Sixth Schedule to avail the stated benefits of Scheduled Tribe Area.

Articles 371 to 371-J in part XXI of the constitution contain special provisions for twelve states. The intention behind them is to meet the aspirations of the people of backward regions of the states or to protect the cultural and economic interests of the tribal people of the states or to deal with the disturbed law and order condition in some parts of the states or to protect the interests of the local people of the states. The Union Territory of Ladakh has become vulnerable and needs safeguard measures as envisage in the constitution. The largest area and sparsely populated is a very distinctive feature of the region and without certain protection the demography of the region is at stake. There is immense anxiety among the population that with new legislation there will be massive influx of trade, industry and commerce as well as of people who are alien to the cultural, religious and traditional ethos of Ladakhis which they have always upheld for centuries. Our region does have a very fragile ecology and environmental condition which needs traditional approach to tackle with. Rapid industrialisation in the region and increase in density of population will adversely impact socio cultural fabric. A narrow population of around 300 thousand souls will be exposed to minority risk unless land ownership and employment rights are not protected as government and defence jobs are the only service industry available to Ladakhis which provide maximum employment opportunities. All these concerns of the people need to be safeguarded within the ambit of Constitution as the stated articles do honour. Article 371 provides for adequate employment opportunities in respect of stated areas in Maharashtra and Gujrat, 371-A provides for ownership and transfer of land and its resources to Nagaland, 371-G provides for ownership and transfer of land and its resources to Mizoram, 371-J provides for reservation of seats in educational and vocational training institutions in the region for students who belong to the region and reservation in state government posts in the region for persons who belong to the region of Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

In para 83. (1) of THE JAMMU AND KASHMIR REORGANISATION BILL, 2019 it is mentioned that the award of Fourteenth Finance Commission be apportioned between the two Union Territories on the basis of population ratio and other parameters. Representatives of the region must project to the concerned committee that due share must be apportioned to Union Territory of Ladakh not on the basis of population ratio alone but more consideration on the basis of scattered population and large area of the region as in the same para (2) specifically mentions that the Central Government may, having regard to the resource available to the successor Union territory of Ladakh make appropriate grants and also ensure that adequate benefits and incentives in the form of special development package are given to the backward area of this region. The representation must also deal with the issues of generation of hydro as well as solar power energy from the region as the region is rich in its natural capacities of power generation. An adequate employment opportunity as well as share of revenue to the consolidated fund of Union Territory of Ladakh for its further development needs to be guaranteed. In the same manner, as per para 85. (1) (e) issues related to facilities in certain State Institutions, the representation from the region must ensure that the existing facilities available to the region in terms of admission in medical colleges, universities and in other technical institute must continue until the proper infrastructure and facilities are not developed within the Union Territory of Ladakh. Due consideration is also required for special provisions to the students and aspirants of the   Union Territory Ladakh in terms of reservation and admission in different institutes of importance all over the country. It is pertinent to mention that University of Ladakh must be converted into full-fledged university directly under the ambit of MHRD instead of existing cluster university status and all the colleges in existence must be the constituent colleges of the University of Ladakh. In view of the large number of faculties in higher education department the representatives must ensure immediate creation of posts in newly established colleges as well as increase in number of teaching posts in two prime colleges of Leh and Kargil. Emphasis is needed to augment the infrastructure of educational sector in special reference as education is the only major contributory of employment opportunities in the region. In reference to para 93 (2) wherein The Union Public Service Commission will serve the needs of the Union Territory of Ladakh; effective representation must be made by both LAHDCs that the concerned DSSRBs be empowered for recruitment up to the grade of undersecretary level within the Union Territory of Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education Act, 1975 which continues in the Union Territory of Ladakh must be gradually replaced with Central Board of School Education; however, the academic calendar must be framed considering the climatic condition of Union Territory of Ladakh. In the interest of students and issues pertaining to their scholarship the Tribal Affairs department must be established under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and ample scholarship opportunities under the Ministry of Minority Affairs is extended as the Union Territory of Ladakh comprises the majority tribal and minority.

Employees are one of the major stakeholders and in new legislation their interest needs to be safeguarded. All the benefits which are available to a central employee are extended to the existing employees of Union Territory of Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 extended to Union Territory of Ladakh must increase the percentage of reservation for the schedule tribe and the roaster for reservation in promotion must consider the proportion of Scheduled Tribe population ratio within the Union Territory of Ladakh. The General Provident Fund assets need to be converted into Central Provident Fund for the enhance security of enhancement and benefit to the employees. Special concessions need to be availed for all employees working on temporary basis under different departments. Special provision must replace SRO 202 and SRO 520.

I do assert that whatever quoted in this article is merely going through various provisions of the law. Neither I a student of Law nor the student of political science but being an academician and feeling the sense of ambiguity among the people of Kargil in particular and among the present leadership it’s a humble endeavour to bring clarity for myself and the people. It is very much obvious that the researchers, scholars and experts on subject will find many flaws in content as well as interpretation that need immediate rectification hence intensive critical analysis is required. Humbly request the readers to give their valuable feedback so that the document is made more relevant to understand the new structure of Union Territory of Ladakh.

Alas, as a native of this district I advocate all of us to move ahead on the basis of reasons and judicious arguments rather than on the basis of ignorance and emotions. We are well aware that neither we were party to this decision nor our wishes were consulted and we are not in a position to undo things. There is a wide economic gap between the two district of this region and that has to be minimised under the Union Territory of Ladakh. Leh district has always remained centre of administration and policy making right from the time of Dogra rule and has gained significance in all areas of development. It remained district headquarter for three decades in independent India and on the other side Kargil got district status in the year 1979 and it took another decade to function as a district. Whatever development and prosperity we are witnessing is just after Kargil war of 1999 which gave recognition and importance to this part of Ladakh. The imbalance in terms of all around development between the two districts will further get widened due to new legislation as it’s very much evident that the already developed district will accelerate its development at a higher pace and the developing district have to concentrate more on development of infrastructure and basic necessities. The formal and informal leadership of the district as well the government must at the first instance articulate policies to minimise the structural imbalances within the territory and special package be granted for the backward areas of district Kargil as assured in para 83. (2) of the bill. Our leaders and masses must put forth the demand of early construction of Zojila Tunnel, Civil air services, extension of Kargil town on Kurbathang plateau beside extensive infrastructure development in all sectors. The religious as well as political organisations of the district must collectively constitute a panel of resourceful persons of different expertise and calibre so that it serves a platform for threadbare discussion and consultation to move on the road ahead. The cloud of hopelessness and disparity must shirk away, let’s spread the light of hope and optimism and spirit to compete in right perspective. Allah says: Man is not but he strives.

The author Dr MNM Shabani is an Assistant Professor in Commerce at Govt. Degree College, Kargil.

*Suggestions, counter arguments, critical analysis as well any sort of corrections required is solicited on his email:

What Kargil say on UT status?

Karbalai Sajjad

Speaking to Excelsior News MLA Kargil Haji Asgar Ali Karbalai and Journalist Sajjad Kargili condemned the decision to give Union Territory status for Ladakh and abrogation of Article 370.

Asgar Karbalai said:

“Today is a black day not only for Jammu and Kashmir but for whole India. Side-lining the constitution, the Home minister with a presidential order abrogated the Article 370. They not only removed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir but also reorganised the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir has divided into two Union Territory. We are against division of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of religion, region and language. We are against the abrogation of 370 and we will resist against this decision. People of Kargil are against the UT status and Ladakh has granted UT without a legislation. The Indian constitution give us right to choose our own representative but today this right has been usurped from us.”


Sajjad Kargili:

“Union Territory was the demand of Leh people but people from Kargil always had expressed their willingness to be with Jammu and Kashmir. They wanted not to abrogate 370 and rejected UT status also. However, they had demanded for divisional status. People in Kargil have always protected the borders of the country, but decision has been made against their will. We appeal the government of India to keep Kargil with Kashmir in this decision and secondly they need to review the decision.”


We are trying to create a data base of developments in Ladakh on a single platform. We encourage young writers from Ladakh to write their concerns at ladakhexpress[at]

…ایک کہانی اتحاد کی


کہانی تب شروع ہوتی ہے جب اسلامیہ اسکول میں اسلامیہ اسکول اور امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ کے اتحاد کے نام پر ایک بھونچال آتا ہے اور اسلامیہ سکول کے نیے صدر جناب ناظر المہدی صاحب کا انتخاب جناب سید جمال الدین صاحب کو ہٹا کر ہوتا ہے جو اُس وقت اتحاد کرنے کے لیے سب سے پیش پیش ہوتے ہیں اور اس حد تک کامیاب بھی ہو جاتے ہیں کہ دونوں فریقوں میں لگ بھگ اتحاد کا سلسلہ آخری مرحلے میں ہوتا ہے۔
صدر بننے کے بعد جناب ناظر المہدی صاحب آہستہ آہستہ سحر ٹی وی پر نشر ہونے والے جلسہ و جلوس میں خاصکر(مطلب خاصکر) نظر آنے لگ جاتے ہیں۔ تبھی کرگل میں ایک انقلاب آ جاتا ہے اور لوگ علم جناب حضرت عباس ّ کی محبت میں پلکیں بچھایے انتظار میں لگ جاتے ہیں۔ اس دوران پتہ چلتا ہے کہ اس علم کے لانے میں سب سے بڑا کردار جناب سجاد کاکسری صاحب کا رہا ہے۔ لوگوں کا جزبہ ایمانی دیکھ کے فلک بھی رشک کرنے لگتا ہے اور علم کی زیارت سے سب ہی اپنے دلوں میں ٹھنڈک محسوس کرتے ہیں۔
آہستہ آہستہ بات پرانی ہو جاتی ہے۔
تھوڑے عرصے بعد جناب شیخ ناظر المہدی صاحب سکردو چلو کا نعرہ بلند کرتے ہیں اور اسکی رہنمایی جناب سجاد کاکسری صاحب کے حوالے کی جاتی ہے۔ بہت کوششیں کی جاتی ہیں پر یہ نعرہ انکے خواہشوں کے بر خلاف ٹھنڈی پڑ جاتی ہے کیونکہ اس نعرے میں کرگل کے با شعور عوام کو کوی فایدہ نظر نہیں آ رہا ہوتا ہے۔
اسی اثنا میں کرگل میں ڈیویژنل سٹیٹس کا مسعلہ آ جاتا ہے اور پھر سے کرگلی عوام کی رگوں میں خون دوڑ جاتا ہے۔ ہر کوی چاہے وہ عام ہو یا خاص مذہبی و سیاسی جماعتوں کو ایک ہونے کہ صلاح دیتے ہیں اور الللہ کے کرم سے ایک کمیٹی بنتی ہے جس کا نام جے ار سی (JRC) رکھا جاتا ہے اور سب ایک سٹیج پر جمع ہو جاتے ہیں۔ پوری امت کرگل ملکر ایسی آواز بلند کرتے ہیں کہ ہندوستانی ایوان ہلا کر رکھ دیتے ہیں اور کامیابی سے ہمکنار ہوتے ہیں۔ الحمد الللہ
کچھ عرصے بعد ایم پی کا الیکشن ہونا ہوتا ہے اور سارے لوگ اسی خواب غفلت میں پڑے رہتے ہیں کہ اس بار تو ہم متحد ہیں اور ایک کینڈیڈیٹ کو کھڑا کر کے ہم بازی مار لیں گے۔ کرگل کے سارے عوام جے ار سی (Joint Resistance Committee ) سے اُمیدیں لگاے ہوے ہوتے ہیں کہ اج یا کل یہ ملکر ایک میٹنگ کریں گے کہ اچانک سیاست کو طلاق دینے والے اپنی مرضی سے سیاسی جماعتوں کو طلب کر کے ایک تجویز پیش کرتے ہیں کہ اپ سب ملکر کسی کینڈیڈیٹ کا نام دیں تاکہ اتحاد قایم ہو سکے؟ ؟؟
یہ ایک سوچی سمجھی چال ہوتی ہے کیونکہ ان کو بھی معلوم ہوتا ہے کہ ایسا نا ممکن ہے کہ سبھی سیاسی جماعتیں ملکر کسی ایک کے نام پر سر تسلیم خم کر دیں۔
پھر مذہبی جماعتوں کو بلایا جاتا ہے۔ جس میں دو ہی نام رکھے جاتے ہیں کیونکہ دوسری جماعتیں ملکر اسلامیہ اسکول اور امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ کے حوالے کر دیتے ہیں کہ اپ ہی ایک ایک نام تجویز کریں تاکہ کینڈیڈیٹ کو چنے میں آسانی ہو اور اتحاد قایم ہو سکے۔
جو دو نام رکھے جاتے ہیں وہ ہیں جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب اور جناب سجاد کاکسری صاحب (جو اجکل سجاد کاکسری سے سجاد کرگلی کہلوانا زیادہ پسند کرتے ہیں)
کسی کو انکے نام پر اعتراض نہیں ہوتا اور ان دونوں کے نام پر دوسروں سے راے لی جاتی ہے (یا کہیں ووٹنگ کی جاتی ہے) اور جناب اضغر علی کربلای کو زیادہ ووٹ مل جاتے ہیں۔
”یا اللہ یہ کیا ہو گیا پانسہ تو الٹا پڑ گیا”
جب ووٹ زیادہ مل جاتے ہیں تو اعتراضات شروع ہو جاتے ہیں اور میٹنگ برخاست کر کے اگلے دن پھر سے سیاسی و مذہبی جماعتوں کو بلایا جاتا ہے جس میں ایک تنظیم کو دروازے سے ہی واپس لوٹایا جاتا ہے۔(والللہ اعلم)
اسلامیہ اسکول اور کچھ جماعتیں اس بات پر اڑ جاتے ہیں کہ جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب نہ ہو باقی چاہے جو بھی ہو۔ کوی بھی ہو چل جاے گا (بیوقوف ہو، جاہل ہو، ان پڑھ ہو، گنوار ہو، کام آتا ہو یہ نہ آتا ہو، چلو کوی بسیجی ہو، امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ کا ہو، چاہے ایک فیصد بھی تجربہ نہ ہو، کچھ بھی ہو، کچھ سروکار نہیں کیونکہ ہمیں ایم پی جتا کر لہہ والوں کو دکھانا ہے) (الللہ کی پناہ)
اس بات کو سمجھانے کی کوشش میں کہ ہمیں صرف ایک ایم پی نہیں بلکہ ایک ایسے شخص کو بھیجنا چاہیے جو کرگل کی نمایندگی کر سکے، ایوان میں کرگل کے غیور عوام کی عکاسی کر سکے، تھک ہار کر امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ راضی ہو جاتی ہے اور جناب شیخ بشیر صاحب کے ساتھ یہ پیغام ارسال کرتی ہے کہ جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب کا نام واپس لے لیا گیا ہے اور جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب کا نام واپس لے کے اس بات کی مہلت صرف صبح نو بجے تک مانگتی ہے کہ کسی دوسرے شخص کو کہ جو اس کرسی کے لیے قابل ہو کو چنا جا سکے۔ کیونکہ امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ کا موقف بلکل صاف رہتا ہے کہ نمایندہ ایسا ہو جو کرگلی عوام کا سر جھکنے نہ دے۔ پر اتحاد کے اڑ میں اپنی سیاسی روٹیاں سیکنے کی کوشش میں جو لگے تھے انہیں یہ بات نا گوار گزرتی ہے کہ امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ نے جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب کا نام واپس لے لیا اور اتحاد ہونے کے امکانات وسیع ہو گیے۔
ہڑ بڑی میں ان سب لوگوں و جماعتوں کے جزبات، جو یہ چاہتے تھے کہ اتحاد ہو، کو بالاے طاق رکھ کر دوسرے ہی دن جناب سجاد کاکسری صاحب کو نامزد کیا جاتا ہے۔
پھر اج تک نہ اتحاد کی بات کرتے ہیں اور جو چاہتے تھے کہ اتحاد ہو انکا سامنا بھی نہیں کرتے۔ اپنے صدر و کینڈیڈیٹ کو لے کے میٹنگ میں وہ اتے ہیں جنکا دل صاف ہوتا ہے اور وہ جناب شیخ رجای صاحب اور جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب ہوتے ہیں۔ شاید وہ جانتے تھے کہ اگر کسی نتیجے پر نہیں پہنچتے تو زیادہ سے زیادہ قرعہ لگایا جایے گا اور وہ الللہ پر توکل کر کے آ جاتے ہیں۔
افسوس صد افسوس کہ پھر بھی اج کچھ لوگ کہتے ہیں کہ شیخ بشیر صاحب اور جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب اتحاد کے حق میں نہیں۔
جناب شیخ ناظر المہدی صاحب اس صدر کو ہٹا کے آیے تھے جو اتحاد کے خواہاں تھے اور اج کچھ لوگ جناب شیخ ناظر المہدی صاحب سے امید کر رہے ہیں کہ وہ اتحاد کریں گے
الللہ کی پناہ


The article is written by a Kargili who want to be anonymous. The article is published with a pure intention to keep an account of the developments in the region. Ladakh Express entertains write-up from writers. You can send us your piece on ladakhexpress[@]

Divisional Status for Ladakh: A Boon or a Curse?


In a decision, that called “hasty” by many, the government recently granted divisional status to Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir with “headquarter in Leh”; decided to review later after massive protest from Kargil. The move that departs Ladakh in administrative and revenue affairs from the Kashmir valley came only after a month when the Governor of the State Satya Pal Malik announced a cluster university in the region, in Buddhist dominated district Leh. This Leh centric decisions in the period of Modi government is perceived as “discriminative” by the Muslim dominated Kargil district.

Many thinkers and political analysts have seen this move as a political stand to garner vote bank in the region. Ladakh had embraced the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections by electing their MP from the party. However, due to unfulfillment of the demands by the BJP, the former MP Thupstan Chhewang resigned recently. For the BJP, who potentially would be successful to garner majority of Assembly as well as Lok Sabha seats in Jammu region, Ladakh would prove to be a deciding factor. Thus, this hasty decision is seen as an attempt to appease Ladakhi people for election to secure two MLA seats and the MP seat. However, the discriminative approach has bringing the two communities as well as districts of Ladakh against each other, contrary to their unfathomable history of coexistence.

The recent “discriminative” move to grand both the developments to Leh has been added to the past grievances. It is a widely spread notion among people in Kargil that government have always discriminated them relatively against Leh where the headquarters of BSNL, passport office, airport, jail, etc have been established. The powerful organisation in Kargil Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust (IKMT) in a press conference observed disappointment on the decision, describing the grant of divisional status and cluster university “lollipop”. Another prominent leader from Kargil and former MLC Syed Ahmed Rizvi declared the decision “unjust” and appealed the governor to review the decision. Urging all organisations in Kargil to unite over the issue, he questioned the behaviour of the govt, saying, Is not Kargil part of India? In a video message he showed concern over spoiling peace in the region due to “unjust and discriminative” approach, that he said, “tang aa’mad ta jung aamad” (frustration leads to war).

People in Kargil are smearing with fear that they have to face consequences of having headquarter in Leh. Before 1977 when Kargil was not formed a separate district, people had to relied on Leh even for preparation of a small document. Ahmed Rizvi has concerned that they have to up-down from Leh to Kargil for even small issues if Leh is made the headquarter. Another shade over fate of Kargil is that the new headquarter in Leh (220 km) is farther than the existing one in Kashmir (205 km). That is why, IKMT suggested to decide the location for headquarter themselves at local level in a joint conversation with leaders from Leh. Some leaders including the former MLA Asgar Karbalai had suggested a rotational headquarter: Leh for winter, as Leh have connectivity in winter and Kargil for summer due to its proximity with Kashmir as well as Zanskar. Now, the disputed decision has perceived as a betrayal by the Modi government.

The demand for Central University was a joint effort of student associations of both the districts. But from the day first there was a murmuring speculation from Kargil side over the location to establish the university. It was also because of the past experiences of “discrimination” by the government. Nonetheless, the demand for Divisional Status was initiated by the Kargil district that had later supported by the LAHDC Leh in December last year.

The divisional status is also seen as a “step forward” to the largest demand of Union Territory (UT) status by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Leh in its press release. The discomfort would further intense in case of granting UT status which is strongly opposed by almost all major groups in Kargil.

The communal discord fuelling by the discriminative approach could be sensed from the confrontational argument between the leaders of the two districts. Recently, exchange of harsh words took place between social and religious leaders of both the communities. The Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) from Leh had labelled the religious organisations in Kargil “political” instead of religious. It had retaliated with striking response from the later.

Potentially a co-incidence, this discriminative move was accompanied with soaring Kargil led demand for opening of Kargil-Skardo road. Apart from economic and cultural benefits attached to the road, this demand could be seen as a rise of ethnic-identity against state-nationalism. A public speaker in Delhi had once said that Balti people in both side of the border (India and Pakistan) are loyal to the state. In the whole state of J&K also the people of Kargil are seen as patriotic and loyal to state who had assisted the Indian army to cross the Zoji Pass in 1971 war with Pakistan. However, the alienation of Muslim majority Kargil has also eroding their loyalty for state.

Hasty decisions for political interest would yield grave concern for peace. The discriminative approach has been fuelling communal discord and eroding the communal harmony in the region. It also pushes the people at the border to stand against the state.


By: Anwar Ali Tsarpa

Research Scholar at Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Jamia Millia Islamia.

Kargil to Silmo photo story

Here are some beautiful scenes I have seen through the lens of my camera this summer. I clicked them randomly while I was on reporting to Silmo village. I don’t remember the name of these villages. Name them if you know. Mention the image No. and type down name of the village in comment. Photo credit: Anwar Ali Tsarpa





















Only this picture is in Wakha, clicked on another day.

Desires in Kargil that need control

Dreaming about a new house

By Anwar Ali Tsarpa

A permanent resident may not have observed what I, as a temporary visitor, observe the change. With an intention to observe some transformations I took out for a walk in the morning after prayers. I observed many new constructions one after another, seemingly competing each other. Even a family of five to six members, possess a huge three storey house with 12 to 15 rooms. This is not what I saw only in my village but almost in all other villages.

I am not a pessimist denouncing the construction of houses in Kargil. Because shelter is one of the basic need of all animals including human animal. A “basic shelter” as a basic need should be the priority over many other things. But I would say that construction of “luxurious house” is ridiculous if prioritised over other essential things.

I find it “ridiculous” because many have given the preference to construction of “luxurious houses” over children’s education, future source of income, future planning, fertile agricultural land, and need of the society around him/her. Let me explain all these points one by one.

Firstly, many people have chosen to build a luxurious house and a car over a quality education of his children. In a random observation of many villages in the suburbs of Kargil town I found many people deprived their children from a reputed school or from higher education outside Kargil. In this case your children, when become a wo/man, will be less or unproductive. Your future will fall in risk.

Secondly, if your children are having a quality education it is still not guaranteed that they will get a good job. Because, now every household have a number of people holding Bachelor, Master, and PhDs degrees. So, in a zero industrialised area like Kargil or in whole Jammu and Kashmir the government would not be able to ensure good job for each and every one. My argument would be reliable if you look at the number of unemployed youth in Kashmir valley, which is relatively much higher than other states of India. In this case you need to save this money to make an investment for your future generation to come. Or you have to invest the money in such a way that they produce a good economic return for you. Because, building an expensive house is not going to give you a return revenue.

Thirdly, construction of such a huge house has been spoiling fertile agricultural lands. At the same time, I came to know that many people have sold their lands to finance the construction of “unnecessarily luxurious” house. In this case we are depriving our future generation from their rights for our prolonged selfish desires. And the higher middle class (because Kargil currently don’t have an economic higher class) who is purchasing those lands are getting richer day by day, creating a wide gap between rich and the poor.

Fourthly, if you have enough money to fund both your children education and to invest to make their future secure you have another responsibility. It is your ethical, moral, rational and religious duty to look after those who need your money more than you. The poor who can’t make their bread, shelter and education are those whose bread has been reached to your dinning table. According to Imam Ali (a.s.), if someone has received more rizaq than what he actually needed than consider that someone’s right has been deprived. Allah and the Apostles (peace be upon them), don’t want you to close your eyes on the poor. You are the chosen one by God to deliver other’s right; and this is really a privilege and pleasure for you. If you remain deaf to them the God will be displeased.

Tentative Solution

Many of my respondents said that a “big house is needed to facilitate people on “rallphut” (public events). Yes, this is really a weighty need of the hour. But, construction of a community hall would fulfil the need while saving huge investment and agricultural lands. Houses should be small and the events should conduct in community halls which could be constructed to suit the events. I hope this topic will open for debate among intellectuals, clerics and community leaders in all villages to mitigate this unnecessary ridiculous competition.

The author (Anwar Ali Tsarpa) is a PhD scholar at Nelson Mandela centre for Conflict Resolution and Peace Building. The article was first published in weekly Voice of Ladakh Volume – 6 | Issue – 12 on 26 May 2018.

Influential religious organization in Kargil calls for shutdown against Kashmir killings

Ladakh Express 20th July 2016: ikmt-headerIn a recent press note, influential religious organization Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust Kargil calls for a complete Shutdown in Kargil District on Thursday 21st July 2016 against the human rights violation in Kashmir valley.

As per the press note the organization has planned to stage a protest rally at Kargil town following by the Zuhar Prayers at Jamia Masjid Kargil.  Beware that the recent conflict in Kashmir Valley has killed more than 50 people and more than 3000 have been injured. As per the media reports many of the casualties are in critical condition.

A new row of demonstration and killings have been erupted in Kashmir valley after the killing of young militant leader Burhan Wani on 8th of July.

Why Kargil must have a centre for UGC-NET exam?

Taxis charge ₨ 700-800 for one side from Kargil to Srinagar while buses charge ₨ 400. Most of the students choose to travel by bus because they can’t effort an expensive journey. It goes around ₨ 2000 after calculating the both side travel, food and accommodation charges. I came to know that four buses are leaving for Srinagar from Kargil on 9th of July 2016 in which most of the passengers were students going to appear in the UGC-NET paper scheduled on 10th of July.


I was one among the students who were going to appear in the paper. Before dawn we proceed towards Srinagar. After travelling 190 KMs, passing through the rough, dangerous and road from among the high mountains of Zojila Pass, in the chill weather of morning we reached at Sunamarg at around 11:00 AM. Whenever we set to travel via Zojila Pass we use to say a warm good-bye to our family members. On the way till Sunamark my fellow travellers received call once in an hour from their family members. These calls were because of the fear of the dangerous route to Srinagar. Unfortunately after reaching to Sunamark we came to know that Srinagar city is on strike, demonstrating against the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani and his two associates.

We had planned to take the breakfast at Kangan as we like the food quality there. Because of the strike Police doesn’t allowed the vehicles to proceed towards Srinagar. We entered a Kashmiri restaurant at Sunamark to have breakfast. The restaurant Wala lied that because of strike all the restaurants in Sunamarg don’t serve bread; so we had no choice other than eating rice in the morning which is not a routine in Ladakh and Kashmir. Since then we anxiously waited to through the road till 5:00 PM in the afternoon. Suddenly there was a rumour that the UGC-NET paper has been postponed. A guy told that due to poor network he had received only the half text of a message regarding the postponement of the exam. After receiving the whole message his phone got switched off due to low battery; but before showing it to anyone else. This created more curiosity among the students to know the actual information.

I took the guy to the tourist Bungalow and charged his phone, than only the students came to know that the exam has been postponed and the next date to inform on a future date. When the students came to know about this, three of the four buses, many small commercial vehicles and private vehicles set back to Kargil as hundreds of those students were going for the same exam. Passing again through the rough and high mountain passes we reached back to home at mid-night in a tired and very poor condition.

Some students who had travelled a day before to Srinagar faced more problem than us. When I contacted some of them I came to know that they had no food to eat due to strike in the valley. Some of the vehicles carrying students were attacked on the way by the stone-pelting. This is not the only trouble Kargili peoples, especially student’s face but there are uncountable concerns to raise here. But this time I am only focusing on the UGC-NET issue. The students have been demanded many times to the concerned authorities to establish a separate exam centre in Kargil for UGC-NET and other such exams. After travelling such a long journeys how we can expect a student to face a competitive exam? Why a student should risk his life to achieve one of his fundamental rights? Is not this a structural injustice, discrimination and humiliation of citizens in a democracy? If yes, than this issue should be solved before conducting the next exam.

By Anwar Ali Tharpa

Exclusive interview with President ISK Sheikh Nazir

After the disputed presidential election in the Islamia School Kargil (ISK) on 5th April 2016, a new phase in the history of Kargil as well as ISK seems to be emerged. The “reformation” which I mentioned in former articles as a “peace process” really seems to be a “long” and tiresome process. The enigma of turning 30 years back, the power sharing formula to the newly elevated Chief Patron Syed Jamal Musavi and to know the details of Sheikh Nazir’s tour to Delhi, Ladakh Express had an exclusive interview with Sheikh Nazir Mehdi Mohammadi. Here is the interview.

Sheikh Nazir Mehdi Mohammadi

Ladakh Express (LE): We heart that, in your tour to Delhi you met with prominent personalities, who were they and what were the agendas in the meetings?

Sheikh Nazir Mehdi (SNM): First of all we met with the representative of Wilayat e Faqi, Ayatollah Mehdavipur, in which we discussed the issue of reformation in the society. It is decided that the issue of Jama Masjid is to be solved first, without that nothing else will be discussed before. If the issue of Masjid is solved than we will discuss other issues as well; and if this is not solved than we will not be ready to discuss any other issue. He (Mehdavipur) also ensured us to solve the same first and we hope this will be solved soon. However two meetings with IKMT were held recently but ended without any result. One more meeting is being scheduled after Ramazan let’s see what happen in that.

We told him (Mehdavipur) that the points Ayatollah Mehdavipur mentioned in his letter over the issues of Kargil are not the primary concerns. The major concerns are issues in belief and jurisprudence, which include jurisprudence issues like – Jama Masjid, Mutahhary School, Qatilgah, the usurped money of Wash Rooms, moon issue, judiciary; and belief issues like – innovations they have created in the religion. All these will discuss one by one but only after solving the problem regarding Jama Masjid.

In addition we met with the representative of Jamia Al-Mustafa – Aga Salihi, in which we discussed some social issues and issues related to Islamia School.

We went to Mukhtar Abass Naqvi to congratulate him on joining Rajya Sabha. During the meeting we discussed some primary issues of Kargil. The most important among them was Zojila Tunnel on which he assured us to start work as soon as possible. Secondly we requested him to provide helicopter service for serious patients during winter season. Thirdly we discussed the airbus service for Kargil. On these issues he didn’t refused but assured to take the issue to concerned authorities. Moreover we discussed the Ladakh Scott issue and many other issues as well. We hope that all this will fulfil soon.

 LE – The points you mentioned in your last speech (on 27 June) and the points you mentioned in your former speech (on 23 May) in which you manifest to go 30 years back were contradictory.

SNM – In my first speech I told that we wish to live a life as we were before the conflicts, 25-30 years back. The idea was that at that time we had no possession over heritages. In addition we had no innovations in the religion as they (IKMT) have created. My idea was to live such a life without imposition of any innovations. Let us embrace our religion without any additions.

LE – What do you mean by innovations and additions?

SNM – Whatever is present there (in IKMT) and not here is innovation. It was not present before; i.e. was Waqfas (supplications to Wilayat e Faqi) present before? No it was not. Was chanting slogans on Ashura present before? No it was not. All these are innovations which should abolish because these are causes of conflict in the society. Why they are doing this? Is this Mustahab or Wajib; then why they are doing this? All these are issues of belief and jurisprudence which I mentioned in detail in my last speech.

LE – In the same speech you mentioned that ISK will keep politics on bay. Up to what extent you would deal with politics?

SNM – I told it before also that political issue will not be discussed inside ISK premises. We will setup a wing to deal with political affairs and would not let politics to get interfere in ISK premises.

LE – To whom you submitted the white cloth which was signed by 3300 people and what was written on that?

SNM – I wrote whatever I told you here (above).

LE – This will be my last question. Chief Patron Aga Jamal Musavi told that he will be awarded the same power as Zakiri have in IKMT. When this power sharing formula will be decided?

SNM – Here, no power is going to share with anyone. If Zakiri have the power than tell him (Syed Jamal) to have it from Zakiri, he will not get any power from us.

LE – Thank you for giving your valuable time.