After holding talks with Jammu and Kashmir-based parties, the Centre has now invited parties and civil society members from Kargil and Ladakh for talks on July 1.
Former MPs and members of civil society have also been invited to the meeting, slated to be held on July 1 at 11am, to be chaired by Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy, at his residence.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Thursday chaired a three-and-half-hour-long meeting with 14 political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including four former chief ministers.
Delimitation followed by successful elections, and the restoration of democracy in the region was emphasised upon by the Centre at the meeting. “We are committed to ensure all round development of J&K. The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in Parliament," Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said in a tweet, later.
The meeting was the first between the Centre and mainstream Jammu and Kashmir politicians after the abrogation of Article 370 and the division of the erstwhile state into two union territories in August 2019.
On August 5, 2019, the central government withdrew J&K’s special status under the Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union Territories — J&K with a legislative assembly and Ladakh without one.
The historic move led to the imposition of restrictions on several political leaders and activists in the Kashmir Valley. Gradually, authorities lifted the curbs and released politicians under detention.
‘Gupkar Alliance Doesn’t Have Right to Speak for Ladakh’
Prior to PM Modi’s meet with J&k leaders, Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal had said in a tweet that the Gupkar alliance did not have the right or authority to speak on behalf of the people of Ladakh.
On August 18, 2019, prominent Ladakh leaders made a fervent request to the Centre to declare the region a tribal area under the Constitution’s Sixth Schedule in order to maintain its identity. Namgyal wrote to Union minister Arjun Munda, stating that Ladakh is mostly a tribal territory, with tribals accounting for 98 percent of the population.
“The tribal community in Ladakh is most concerned about protecting their identity, culture, land, and economy since the Centre announced its decision to make Ladakh a Union Territory," he said. To preserve the interests of its people, Namgyal requested that the Union tribal affairs minister declare it a tribal region under the Constitution’s Sixth Schedule.
The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, which consists of 21 individual articles and is based on Articles 244(2) and 275(1), provides for the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, after setting up autonomous district and regional councils.