National Conference (NC) leader and former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that on Monday he had been denied permission to use a mike at a workers’ function and was unable to stay at the Drass Dak Bungalow during his Ladakh tour, which coincided with the Ladakh administration’s celebration of the Union Territory’s foundation day.
This was the second time Mr. Abdullah was touring Ladakh, which was carved out as a separate Union Territory from J&K on August 5, 2019.
“One, it shows how shaky the administration is about its own decision to split J&K into two Union Territories. We had no plan for any public gathering or procession and even then they resort to petty acts like mike snatching. Secondly, it shows how poor they are at basic hospitality,” Mr. Abdullah said.
He said he was still a former Chief Minister, and had a high security categorisation too. “Basic courtesy would be to make a room available for me to freshen up but even that was beyond them. Thankfully, I’ve never been bothered by a lack of basic courtesy and have enough friends and well-wishers in Drass for me to never need to rely on government infrastructure,” Mr. Abdullah added.
Addressing party workers, he said Kargil and Leh had been separated from J&K and, “If they [the Centre] are heeding the demands of people of Kargil and Leh, then why be shaky by our visit to the region?”
Mr. Abdullah’s close aide, Nasir Aslam Wani, who also spoke during the function organised by the NC, said the people of J&K had a “blood relation with the people of Kargil and Leh”. “It’s an old relationship. No boundary can end our relationship. We understand and share each other’s pain,” Mr. Wani said.
Several NC leaders from Drass called for “an end to bureaucratic rule in Ladakh”. “Democracy has been choked in Kargil since August 5, 2019. We have been turned into slaves by the bureaucrats posted here from outside,” an NC leader said.
Tashi Gyalson, Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC-Leh), led the Foundation Day celebration of the Union Territory of Ladakh and paid tribute to the late 19th century Buddhist lama Kushok Bakula Rinpoche.
“The status of a Union Territory [for Ladakh] was the dream of Rinpoche and the dream was finally realised in the year 2019 with the support of the Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I appeal to my people to come forward and join us in developing Ladakh ahead in this new journey. Today is the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Minister of Independent India. As the nation celebrates this day as National Unity day, we must thank Sardar Patel for all the work he did in integrating India,” Mr. Gyalson said.