Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the creation of Ladakh as a "state" is an internal matter of India.
The Indian government on Monday revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and moved a separate bill to split the state into two union territories of Jammu & Kashmir, which would get its own legislature, and Ladakh, which would not.
Ladakh's status as a union territory will be unlike Jammu & Kashmir, which will take after the Delhi and Puducherry model, with an elected Legislative Assembly. The Buddhist-majority region, on the other hand, will not be governed by any elected body, but only by the Centre.
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister, however, got his facts wrong when he tweeted, "Ladakh will become an Indian State. With 70% of Ladakh’s population being Buddhist it will be the first Indian state with a Buddhist majority."
Ladakh will become an Indian State. With 70% of Ladakh’s population being Buddhist it will be the first Indian state with a Buddhist majority. Creation of Ladakh and consequential restructuring is India’s internal matter, it is a beautiful region well worth a visit.— Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) August 6, 2019
Several Twitter users corrected the island nation's Prime Minister, with one comment that read "Not a state 'A Union Territory.' to be precise." Another user commented, "It's not a state, It's a union territory without a legislation. Center deals everything in Ladakh."
On the other hand, a number of users left comments condemning his show of support for a Buddhist-majority "state", saying "there's going to be massive amounts of violence in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh and this is all you have to say??"
Another user's comment served the Prime Minister condemnation and a lesson in equal measure. It read, "You'll never learn, will you? So Ladakh being buddhist is suddenly more important than a people not having a say in their governance structure being upended? And you are a celebrated Democrat? P:S: Ladakh will be a Union Territory, without a legislature. Far from being a state."
The move to bifurcate the state into two union territories sparked jubilation in Buddhist-dominated Leh town for coming close to the fulfilment of their long standing demand.
The creation of Ladakh and the consequential restructuring are India's internal matters, Wickremesinghe said in a communique posted on social media sites.
The prime minister said that he has been to Ladakh and "it is really worth a visit," he added.
Sri Lanka is a Buddhist majority country with 74 per cent of its citizens following the religion.