"While the Kashmir issue is related to secession from India, the Ladakh region demanded greater integration with India."Discuss emphasising on the later.

Published: February 7, 2016

Model Answer:
While the Kashmir issue is related to secession from India, the Ladakh region demanded greater integration with India. Since independence of India, Ladakh region alleged that there was systematic discrimination against them from the state government and there was threat to their culture. The demand from Ladakh for closer union with Indian government started as early as 1946 and continued ever since. In 1964, there was first ever well organized attempt from the Ladakhis under the leadership of Kushok Bakula. But, the demand for ‘NEFA-type Central administration’ was nor responded by government. However, in 1982 there was another attempt by P Namgyal, for regional autonomy within the State. This time also there was no response from New Delhi. The state government started suppressing their peace movement with police. Again after seven years in 1989, there was another full scale struggle to achieve independence from Kashmir and obtain the status of Union Territory. The movement was spearheaded by the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA).The movement took place at a time of when the anti-India activities were gaining momentum in Kashmir. At the larger interest of the nation, the LBA suspended its agitation as well as their demand for Union Territory status. Later the central government agreed to set up Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) on the lines of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. In October 1989, the tripartite agreement was signed between the State Government, the Central Government and the LBA. The PV Narasimha Rao government promulgated the LAHDC which became a bill in 1997.But the LAHDC was limited Leh region only as the Kargil district is not keen to acquire the union territory status. Since then the Ladakh region enjoyed autonomy through the hill councils but there are attempts made to defunct the LAHDC.

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