Chinese PLA has further transgressed into Indian territory: Ladakh ex-MP

Indian soldiers are living in tents in sub-zero conditions, claims former BJP Member of Parliament Thupstan Chhewang.

Chinese troops have further transgressed into Indian territory and occupied positions in Finger 2 and 3 of the north bank of Pangong Tso (lake), former BJP Member of Parliament Thupstan Chhewang, who represented Ladakh, has claimed .

Mr. Chhewang said he had received information from locals living in forward areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh that Indian soldiers were living in tents and it was not adequate for them in sub-zero conditions.

The stand-off

India and China have been engaged in a military stand-off in Eastern Ladakh for the past five months.

Mr. Chhewang told The Hindu, “The border situation is critical. The Chinese troops have not only further transgressed into our areas but they have also occupied prominent positions in Finger 2 and 3 areas of Pangong Tso, even Hot Springs area they have not fully vacated… this is what we have come to know from locals.”

As reported earlier by The Hindu, China has ingressed about 8 km in the Finger area and India not been able to patrol beyond Finger 4 since April last week, when China amassed troops in several pockets along the LAC. Earlier, Indian troops could patrol up to Finger 8. The other areas where a worrying build-up has been seen are the Depsang plains, Galwan, Gogra-Hot Springs and the south bank of Pangong Tso in Chushul where Indian troops are in a dominating position.

“The soldiers are put up in tents; this is not acceptable. If despite several negotiations, the government is not able to convince the Chinese to withdraw, then adequate shelter should be provided to the soldiers,” he said.

Meeting with Amit Shah

Mr. Chhewang led a delegation to Delhi in September when he met Home Minister Amit Shah to demand the Union Territory’s (UT) inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. He said the Centre assured them that any changes in land laws in Ladakh would be held in consultation with leaders.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notified new land laws for the UT of Jammu and Kashmir allowing anyone from other parts of the country to purchase land there.

Mr. Chhewang said, “The gazette notification with regard to land in Jammu and Kashmir has created lot of confusion here in Ladakh. But we hope that the Home Ministry will not issue such a notification for the Ladakh UT, as Amit Shah ji has categorically given an assurance to the Ladakh delegation headed by veteran leaders to provide all necessary constitutional safeguard during the course of our discussion in Delhi. We are confident that the Home Ministry will accept our demand for including UT of Ladakh under Sixth Schedule.”

The Sixth Schedule protects tribal populations and provides autonomy to the communities through the creation of autonomous development councils that can frame laws on land, public health, agriculture etc. As of now, 10 autonomous councils exist in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Two months ago, People’s Movement, a group comprising all political parties and the influential Buddhist association, was formed in Ladakh to strongly demand the inclusion in the Sixth Schedule and seek protection from outsiders.

The group had decided to boycott the recently concluded autonomous council elections in Leh after the delegation was assured that “all issues related to language, demography, ethnicity, land and jobs will be considered positively/ taken care of.”

Mr. Chhewang said, “The BJP was able to get only a simple majority in the elections, we have a strong Opposition now. They should empower the nationalist forces. We are yet to get a call from the Centre for the proposed meeting”.

MHA statement

The MHA said in a statement on September 27 that a “dialogue between a larger Ladakhi delegation comprising representatives from Leh and Kargil districts under the aegis of the People’s Movement for constitutional safeguard under the Sixth Schedule and the Home Ministry would commence after 15 days of the culmination of LAHDC [Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council], Leh elections. Any decision so reached in this connection would be in consultation with the representatives from Leh and Kargil.”

The election results were announced on October 26 and the BJP bagged 15 seats, down from 17 in 2015, while the Congress won nine. It was the first-ever polls conducted for the council since Ladakh was carved out as a UT last year.

With inputs from The Hindu

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Kashmir Today staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)