We want the pre-August 5 status to safeguard our identity and job prospectus of youth, they say
Top leaders of Kargil, including two influential seminaries of the Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust (IKMT) and the Islamia School Kargil (ISK), on Sunday distanced themselves from the demand of Sixth Schedule status, even as a prominent Shia leader from Kashmir also made efforts to build a consensus around it.
Sheikh Nazeer Muhamadi, president of the religious seminary ISK, described the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) promise to discuss the granting of the Sixth Schedule status to the 13-month old Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh “a mere acceptance of demand from Leh district”.
“We never demanded Sixth Schedule status ever since the UT was carved [on August 5, 2019]. It’s a demand raised by leaders in Leh district. The ISK has always opposed creation of Ladakh as a UT. We put forth our demands already after the August 5 decision, which are yet to be fulfilled. Kargil is ignored. We want the pre-August 5 status to safeguard our identity and job prospectus of youth,” Mr. Muhamadi told The Hindu over the phone.
Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq Rajyee, president of the IKMT, also seconded Mr. Muhamadi.
“We have decided neither to oppose nor welcome the promise made by the MHA on the Sixth Schedule. It’s a complex issue and requires a wide-ranging deliberation. Any opposition or acceptance will be based on rationale and rules. We have already suffered due to the UT status which was not Kargil’s demand,” Mr. Rajyee said.
He said the 14-point charter submitted to then Governor Satya Pal Malik is the way forward and the Union government need to fulfil these demands first, which calls for legislative powers for the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council-Kargil (LAHDC-Kargil), reservation for students outside the UT and equal importance to the Shia-majority Kargil.
LAHDC-Kargil Chief Executive Councilor Feroz Ahmed Khan said Kargil is yet to start deliberations on the Sixth Schedule and its contents. “It’s mainly the demand of Leh. Our council elections are not due yet. We had already expressed our apprehensions over land, jobs and demography but unfortunately Leh preferred to celebrate the UT status last year,” Mr. Khan said.
He said the religious and political organisation of Kargil will come up with “a unanimous stand”. “We are already paying the cost for the UT status with our children only being able to apply in just two districts rather than 22 districts in the united J&K.”
Mr. Khan said the LAHDC-Kargil will wait for a formal invitation from the MHA “to take a final call on the issue”.
Kashmir valley’s prominent Shia leader arrived in Kargil from Delhi on September 22 “to build a consensus”.
The Shia leader, who belonged to a Valley-based political party and was also detained in the clampdown of the police on August 5 last year, met the religious leaders including the top leadership of the two religious seminaries in Kargil.
“The Shia leader made an attempt to have consensus on the Sixth Schedule but the Kargil leaders made it clear to him that a lot depends on the 14-point list already put forth before the Centre,” said a top leader, who met him.
It’s because of the efforts of the Shia leader that many religious seminaries decided against opposing the Sixth Schedule demand on its face.