Leh, August 3: Kashmir unrest is in its fourth week now and the continuing turmoil has presented a trend that the citizens of Ladakh are not enterely happy about. A number of families from Kashmir, including nomads, have been shifting to a rather ‘peaceful’ Ladakh.
A sizeable number of Ladakhi people are taking this development with more than a pinch of salt because of the speculation that anti-social elements and extremists can use a veiled migration to cause tension in Ladakh itself.
The red flag has been raised by BJP party councillor from Leh council, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, in the social media while making an appeal to the police authorities to keep a close watch on the stay of the migrant families.
“Many of Khachulpas (Kashmiris), especially youth, are entering Ladakh avoiding the Khachuli halat (Kashmir situation) these days. During my last Zanskar visit, I have seen hundreds of Khachulpas with tented camps in Rangdum and a number of groups in the Drass-Kargil-Leh route. I hope all police checkposts have been doing their duty and making the required enquiries,” Namgyal wrote in his Facebook post.
“Many of Khachulpas are coming to stay in Leh with their relatives and friends who are working in Leh. Some families are staying in tents in Choglamsar. Some even want to buy land from locals to construct houses. It’s our collective responsibility to make the public aware of the consequences so that we can keep intact the peace, progress and prosperity of Ladakh. I wish Ladakh will remain as Ladakh, not change to Khachul (Kashmir).”
As such, Ladakh has two districts with Leh dominated by Buddhists and Kargil has a muslim-majority. In past Ladakh has witnessed communal clashes between the two communities over various issues, particularly religious conversion.
“There is no doubt there is little in common between the Kashmiri and Ladakhi people. Their outlook is quite different. Many people from Kashmir visit and stay in Ladakh as tourists but in the past they have not come here for permanent settlement,” said Nawang Rigzin Jora, Congress MLA from Leh as quoted by The Tribune.
Vice-president of the Ladakh Buddhist Association PT Kunzang mentioned that the concerned authorities have been briefed about the development. “After the unrest in Kashmir, a large number of families from Kashmir have been staying in Leh. We are keeping a close watch on the situation as there may be some elements among them who may create trouble and cause disturbance here. We are in constant touch with the administration as well as the Muslim representatives in Leh district,” he said.
Stanzin Dorjey, SHO, Leh police station, said they had learnt that some families from Kashmir had come to the Choglamsar area but they had to verify the same. “We have kept a close watch on all entry and exit points of Leh town and the identification of every visitor is checked properly,” he added.
The twin districts have witnessed demographic changes in the recent years. According to the 2001 census, the Buddhist percentage dipped by 7.96 in the combined population of Leh and Kargil districts while the Muslim percentage went up by 1.97.