The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) on Wednesday recommended ‘tribal area’ status for Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The decision was taken at a meeting of senior officials of the Home, Law and Tribal Affairs ministries and the NCST.
The Home Ministry is the central authority for declaring an area as a “tribal area”.
“After discussing the issue in detail, the commission has decided to recommend ‘tribal area’ status for Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution,” NCST Joint Secretary S K Ratho told PTI.
The Sixth Schedule provides for the administration of tribal areas after setting up autonomous district and regional councils.
The recommendation comes against the backdrop of growing demand from a predominantly tribal population and political leaders of Ladakh for according “tribal area” status to the region.
Though Ladakhis have welcomed the Centre’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and make Ladakh a Union territory, they fear an influx of outsiders would lead to a change in the region’s demography, jeopardising their culture and identity.
It is estimated that more than 90 percent of Ladakh’s population is tribal.