Leh: "This is the best gift given by the Central government to the people of Ladakh, who always had to take the burden of Kashmir's hegemony," said Member of Parliament from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal amid a huge applause in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
Celebrations and congratulatory messages started in Ladakh on Monday right after Union Home Minister Amit Shah declared the removal of Article 370 and announced the region was being reclassified as a Union Territory (UT). The jubilation continued on Tuesday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had promised the residents of Ladakh the UT status ahead of the parliamentary polls back in 2014. Even though nothing came out of it, the Ladakhis trusted the BJP again in 2019 and finally, got what they were promised.
In 2018, former BJP MP from Ladakh Thupstan Chhewang had resigned from the Lok Sabha on the grounds that the UT status was the demand of the people and the party was not able to meet it.
The issue created an uproar in the region, with people vowing to teach the BJP a lesson in 2019. However, it was only after the local and national BJP leadership intervened that the BJP candidate Jamyang Tsering Namgyal won the 2019 polls by a huge margin.
Apart from the UT status, the Ladakhis were also overjoyed by revoking of Article 370, which was considered discriminatory by the residents of Jammu and Ladakh. MP Namgyal said Ladakh wanted separation from Kashmir for more than 30 years due to the discrimination the locals faced.
In February, Ladakh was granted divisional status with a separate divisional commissioner, Inspector General of Police and division-level offices.
By Arjun Sharma