BJP member from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal earned the praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his speech in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday on the motion to scrap special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and a Bill to bifurcate the state into two Union Territories.
Participating in the debate, Namgyal said the people of Ladakh had been fighting for UT status for seven decades.
“Today is that day in Indian history when the mistakes made by the Congress under the leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru are being rectified. In 1948, the president of the Ladakh Buddhist Association had requested Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to either bring Ladakh directly under central administration or make it a part of East Punjab, but under no condition keep Ladakh with Kashmir. But the government at the time didn’t even listen to us. And because we are under Kashmir, till date Ladakh has not been developed,” said Namgyal, adding that Ladakh has always wanted to be “an integral part of India”.
The PM later tweeted, “My young friend, Jamyang Tseing Namgyal who is @MPLadakh delivered an outstanding speech in the Lok Sabha while discussing key bills on J&K. He coherently presents the aspirations of our sisters and brothers from Ladakh. It is a must hear.”
Home Minister Amit Shah joined BJP MPs in applauding Namgyal during his speech by thumping desks and later mentioned it in his reply to the debate.
Taking a jibe at the Opposition, he said, “Many here are talking of what will be lost with the abrogation of Article 370. What will we lose? Only two political families of Kashmir will lose their bread and butter. The future of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are bright.”
Namgyal also alleged that “two families” of J&K thought that the entire state was their private property.
He said he had won the election on the promise of a Union Territory of Ladakh and that he had won elections with large margins precisely because the aspiration of the people of Kargil was a separate UT and that this demand in Ladakh cut across religious lines. Namgyal also spoke of the “inequalities” meted out to Ladakhis by the J&K government. “If 10,000 jobs are created, then Jammu still fights for its share and gets it. Ladakh doesn’t even get 10 jobs out of these. Kashmir got a central university, Jammu got a central university, and despite many protests and demands by us, we were never given a university.” He alleged that Kashmir got a major share of development funds, leaving Ladakh with nothing.
Taking a dig at Ghulam Nabi Azad, he said, “Yesterday, the Congress leader in Rajya Sabha was screaming his lungs out saying what will happen to Ladakh, what will happen to Ladakh. I want to ask him, in 2008, when he was chief minister, his government created eight new districts in J&K. Four were for Kashmir and the people of Jammu fought for an equal number. But Ladakh got nothing. Is this your equality?”
Namgyal also alleged that Article 370 was used to kick Kashmiri Pandits out of their homes. “Is this your secularism? The number of Buddhists in Ladakh were more, now there are more Muslims. Article 370 is being used to eliminate Buddhism from Ladakh. Is this your secularism?”
He said the people of Ladakh “will proudly unfurl the Tricolour as the nation will now have a common flag”.