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National Security Paramount, Not Against Defence Projects In Ladakh: Sonam Wangchuk
4/2/2024 9:59:54 PM
NEW DELHI, Apr 2: Statehood and constitutional protection under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution will not impact defence and national security-related projects in Ladakh, climate activist Sonam Wangchuk said on Tuesday. Wangchuk said this during an online meeting with climate groups and civil society organisations, convened to review preparations for the planned march to Changthang (in the east of Leh along the border with China) on April 7. He recently went on a 21-day fast, surviving only on salt and water, to demand that Ladakh be given statehood and included under the Sixth Schedule, which will help protect the ecologically fragile region from "greedy" industries.
When a participant asked if the campaign to demand Ladakh's inclusion in the Sixth Schedule will impact defence and national security-related projects in border areas, Wangchuk said, "National security is our topmost priority. It's paramount. We are seeking protection from mindless exploitation by industries." In an online press conference last week, Wangchuk had said: "While industries exploit the riches of the Himalayas, the local people bear the brunt of disasters. The government uses taxpayers' money for rehabilitation efforts. So, those who reap the benefits are not held accountable." "Bureaucrats from places like Chandigarh or Lucknow may not fully understand its fragility. The best of all could make mistakes and the worst of all would sell it off to industries," he had said.
Post the repeal of Article 370, Ladakh became a separate Union Territory "without legislature". The Buddhist-dominated Leh district had long demanded UT status because it felt neglected by the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir government.
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