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Buddhists allege plot to change Ladakh's demography

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    Buddhists allege plot to change Ladakh's demography

    Buddhists allege plot to change Ladakh's demography
    NEW DELHI, NOV 8: The simmering tensions in Ladakh came to the fore today when Buddhists formally lodged a protest with the Centre about the ``demographic changes'' allegedly being engineered by the National Conference Government in the frontier region.
    Labzang Nyantak, leader of the youth wing of the Ladakh Buddhist Association, an organisation which had spearheaded a five-year agitation for union territory status to the region in 1991, today asked the Prime Minister to look into the growing unrest among Buddhists. The LBA memorandum alleged the state government had been engineering social restructuring of the region to convert it into a ``Muslim-dominant'' region.

    Recent reports from Ladakh had been hinting at the growing unrest among Buddhists after the recent Lok Sabha election. The elections were fought on communal lines between the National Conference and Congress in which the former won. Congress candidate Thupstan Chewwang was considered a moderate Buddhist and his nomination had evoked hopes among the Ladakhis that finally this election will see an end to communal electoral politics in the region.

    Asking the Prime Minister to rein in Farooq Abdullah Government, the LBA said that ``national security interests in Ladakh is inextricably linked with the interest and concerns of Buddhists of the region''.

    The LBA has alleged, over the years there has been influx of Muslims from Kargil and Kashmir, which had reduced Buddhists to a minority status. Alleging that the state government was encouraging the demographic changes the LBA says, ``If the trend is allowed to continue there is every possibility of Buddhists losing their distinctive cultural identity''.

    Demanding a CBI inquiry into the involvement of Ladakhis living in Kargil in transshipment of arms and ammunition for spreading insurgency in the region, the LBA alleged the state government had hushed up the case.

    The Buddhists, the memorandum said, had been facing discrimination in recruitment in jobs and professional colleges. Besides, the representation of Buddhists in government institutions was being reduced to nil and instead Muslims were being given representation.

    National Conference Government, the LBA alleged, had been consistently downsizing and subverting the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Develpoment Council, which was granted to Leh in 1995 in the aftermath of the LBA agitation. ``Rather than ensuring healthy growth of this democratic institution, the state government under Dr Farooq Abdullah has gone all out to stifle its growth and functioning.''

    They urged the Prime Minister to rein in state government and ensure security and justice to ``patriotic'' Buddhists who had been facing despair and anguish.

    Ladhakis are a peace loving lot who do not normally protest at the drop of the hat. I believe there is some substance in the issue.

    Generally speaking, Ladhak and for that matter also major parts of North East, have seen little development in the past few decades.Most of the infrastructure there can be attributed to defence purposes and anti-insurgency reasons only.People from these places have hardly any representation in the Centre and also do not constitute much of a vote bank to be politically lucrative, hence the indifference.
    I am also of the view that rise in insurgency activities in the North-East is as much the result of total apathy of the Indian Govt. towards creating employment opportunities there as it is supposed to be the handiwork of the "all-pervasive" ISI.

    Its to the credit of this site that we even get to discuss matters intrinsically 'Indian' here. Great Job !!!