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Centre Contemplates ‘Article 371-like’ Protection for Ladakh.

In response to widespread protests in Ladakh, the Centre is considering the possibility of granting Article 371-like protection to the Union Territory. During a meeting with representatives from the region, including Leh Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance, Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured that concerns related to land, jobs, and culture would be addressed through special provisions under Article 371 of the Constitution.

Shah clarified that fulfilling the demand to include Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution was not feasible. Additionally, the Centre rejected the request for a legislature, emphasizing that Ladakh, unlike J&K, is a Union Territory without a legislature.

Despite the rejection of a legislature, Shah expressed sympathy for the region’s concerns, stating that special provisions under Article 371 could address issues such as reserving up to 80% of jobs for local residents. The Ladakh leaders, part of the discussions, conveyed that the current administrative setup lacked public representation, and one of the primary demands was a legislature.

While Shah assured that hill councils could have significant powers and budgets comparable to a state, he made no commitment to establishing a legislature. A government-appointed high-powered committee is examining Ladakh’s demands, with the Centre leaning towards providing protection for culture, language, land, and jobs in a manner different from what the representatives sought.

Ladakh leaders expressed their commitment to continuing their democratic efforts to advocate for their demands in the face of ongoing protests.

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