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    LadakhStatehood Paramount For Ladakh, Will Approach Anyone To Get It: Independent MP...

    Statehood Paramount For Ladakh, Will Approach Anyone To Get It: Independent MP Md Haneefa Jan


    New Delhi, Jun 13: Sixth schedule and statehood for Ladakh remains the key demand for newly elected MP Mohammad Haneefa Jan, who said he will approach leaders of the National Democratic Alliance, as well as the INDIA bloc, to ensure people of his constituency get their rights.
    In an interview, Haneefa Jan, who fought the polls as an Independent candidate after resigning from the National Conference, said he will not be joining any ranks as of now.
    “The election in Ladakh this time was different … So far, elections used to be on religious or regional lines. This time, people voted only on issues,” Haneefa Jan told.
    Ladakh, which was separated from and Kashmir to be made a Union Territory in 2019 after abrogation of Article 370, has witnessed a series of protests over the last few years with demand for safeguards under sixth schedule of the Constitution and statehood.
    Besides the two demands, the four-point agenda, which brought together the Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance on the negotiation table with the Union Home ministry, also has the demand for a separate public service commission and two separate seats — one each for Kargil and Leh.
    Just ahead of the elections, their key demands were turned down by the Home Ministry. The refusal led to a massive protest in Leh, helmed by climate activist Sonam Wangchuk. The agitation was suspended just before the elections.
    Even as the BJP replaced sitting MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal with Tashi Gyalson, the chairman of the Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council, the party failed to impress, and could only finish third.
    Congress candidate, who is also the leader of opposition in the LAHDC, Tsering Namgyal, finished second.
    “In the last five years, people have been complaining about the UT set up, they are concerned about their future employment … Dreams of several youths have been shattered. Those who are studying are also not sure about their future. This is a common issue across Ladakh,” Haneefa Jan said.
    “We have been fighting over these issues over the last five years. Congress also raised the same issues in the elections. If you put the vote share together, 80 per cent of Ladakh's people said they are not happy with the status quo and they want these issues resolved,” Haneefa Jan said.
    “Government should think about what the mandate of the people is about,” he said. The Ladakh MP, who held a meeting with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, said he shared the four-point demand with him.
    “The meeting with Rahul Gandhi was good. We shared the demands of the people of Ladakh in detail, and asked how far they can support us,” Haneefa Jan said.
    “I met the leadership of INDIA bloc, I will also meet government representatives, and raise the issues. I hope the government will also take note of the concerns of the people of Ladakh and address them.
    “I will go to all parties of the INDIA bloc as well as the NDA. If that does not work, I will go to the people of India, because the people of Ladakh have made many sacrifices for the country. We have worked shoulder to shoulder with the Army to keep the country safe. Today, Ladakh needs the support of the people of India,” he said.
    The Independent lawmaker asserted he is not planning to join any party. “It is very clear I will not join any party. We have formed a group – Ladakh Democratic Alliance, I will continue as an Independent MP.”

    Haneefa Jan stressed that the statehood is important for the Ladakhis to exercise their sovereignty.
    “As long as democracy is not established, safeguards will not help as we will remain under the LG and the bureaucracy. We want Ladakhis to rule Ladakh, take their own decisions,” he said.
    Among other issues, he said employment generation remains the biggest challenge in Ladakh.
    “So far, government used to be the main thing. Now, we cannot give government jobs to everyone, the challenge is to generate employment for the youth,” he said.
    The longstanding demand for an airport in Kargil, lack of mobile phone networks, issue of casual workers, and bringing back the old pension scheme are some other major issues for Haneefa Jan.
    Asked about his predecessor Jamyan Tsering Namgyal, who stole the show during a debate on the bifurcation of the state in Lok Sabha with his remark “picture abhi baaki hai” (the best is yet to come), Haneefa Jan said he was shown the door by his own party.
    “People of Ladakh showed him the picture … in fact his own party showed him the real picture,” he said.
    “When you are speaking in Parliament, the whole country is watching. You are addressing the whole country. He compared Kargil to a lane. That was my main slogan in the election,” Haneefa Jan added.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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