Updated: January 25, 2021 8:33:57 am
Old faultlines between Buddhist Ladakh and Muslim Kargil have emerged in the Republic Day tableau of the new Union Territory of Ladakh.
The first tableau of Ladakh will depict the Thiksey Monastery in Leh and the Indian Astronomical Observatory in Hanle, and Kargil feels ignored.
Feroz Ahmad Khan, Chairman of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Kargil, has written to Lt Governor R K Mathur protesting that “cultural and religious symbols” of Kargil have been ignored.
“It is unfortunate to note that a singular aspect of Ladakh has been incorporated for display on the UT Ladakh tableau during Republic Day, thereby failing to showcase the rich and diverse religio-cultural fabric of Ladakh,” Khan has written. “It is felt that (the) partial visual representation of the UT at an event as prominent as the National Republic Day celebrations alienates the people of Kargil district.”
Khan has asked that the tableau be modified: “LAHDC Kargil wishes to request you to kindly pass necessary directions to the concerned for incorporation of religious/heritage sites and cultural ethos of Kargil district in the UT Ladakh tabeau.”
Khan told The Indian Express that the administration did not consult the people of Kargil before finalising the tableau. “Ladakh is not only Leh, it also includes Kargil, and there are other distinctions within Leh and Kargil,” he said. “We feel sad at being ignored. There were many important religious and cultural sites in Kargil which could have been displayed, but they didn’t consult anyone – not even the elected representatives like us.”
Sajad Hussain, a prominent social and political activist of Kargil, said the tableau reflects the way the BJP thinks about Ladakh.
“It is very unfortunate that Kargil has been completely ignored… Kargil has been the battleground during the Kargil war. They could have showcased any of the war symbols like Tiger Hills, Tololing. This (tableau) reflects the binary through which the BJP looks at Ladakh,” he said.
The UT of Ladakh was created after the constitutional changes of August 5, 2019, by which Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was abrogated, and the state was downgraded to two UTs. While a separate UT was always the demand of the people of Leh, the people of Kargil have voiced concerns over alleged discrimination. Ladakh is Buddhist majority, while Kargil is Muslim majority.
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