With the people of Ladakh apprehensive over the region retaining its identity, its MP, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal on Tuesday asked the Central government to declare it a tribal area so that the identity of the newly created Union Territory can be protected.
“We want to protect the cultural and social identity of our region. We are a very small society but have a distinct identity, and we fear that it could be lost once it get more exposed unless it is protected,” Namgyal told The Indian Express. The BJP MP said Ladakh is a predominantly tribal area, with tribals making up to 98 percent of its population.
After submitting his memorandum to Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda, Namgyal was “optimistic” about the government’s response to it.
In the memorandum, Namgyal said, “Majority of people here in Ladakh have limited means of livelihood, poor connectivity, harsh climatic conditions, undeveloped markets for their produce and low employment opportunities. The proximity of the China and Pakistan border and the presence of Indian Army and paramilitary forces underlines the strategic importance of the this region and the vulnerability of its people.” Namgyal said the ecology of Ladakh is extremely fragile, and is subject to any catastrophe due to global warming as glaciers are receding at an alarming rate, affecting the agriculture sector.