Hinting that a demand for divisional status to Ladakh was under consideration, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said Wednesday his administration, after considering the merits and demerits of the proposal, will decide whatever is in the interest of people there.
“It has been a long-standing demand of the people of Ladakh and they will, after considering its merits and demerits, decide what is in their interest,” Malik said. He, however, dismissed the demands for a division status for Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal areas. “I have read about it only in the newspapers. As such, there is no need of talking about it at present,” he said.
The Governor also rejected the criticism by several political parties, including the PDP, that he was encroaching upon the democratic space. “I am performing my duty for the good of general public as has been entrusted to me under provisions of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and also of the Constitution of India,’’ Malik said.
Earlier this month, Leh district’s autonomous Hill Development Council (HDC) had unanimously adopted a resolution demanding divisional status for Ladakh. Later, a high-level delegation led by Chief Executive Councillor, Jamyang Tsering Namgial, had called on the Governor, his advisors and State Chief Secretary separately to press their demand.
While the Kargil’s HDC did not formally adopt a resolution in the matter, its delegation, led by Chief Executive Councillor Feroz Khan, had separately called on the Governor and his advisors here last month seeking divisional status for Ladakh.
Ladakh currently forms a part of Kashmir division.
While all major political parties in the state have backed the demand for a separate division for Ladakh, the PDP has linked the demand with the grant of a similar status to Pir Panchal area comprising border Rajouri-Poonch districts and Chenab Valley which comprises Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban districts of Jammu region. The former chief minister also warned of an agitation if these two far off areas were ignored.
Earlier, NC’s provincial president Devender Rana also extended support to the demand for divisional status for Ladakh. “We had promised it in 1996 and when we form government, we will give it to different regions,’’ he said.