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Sonam Wangchuk On 21-Day Hunger Stike; Demands Ladakhs Statehood, Sixth Schedule

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Famous scientist Sonam Wangchuk is on a 21-day climate fast demanding the Sixth Schedule and statehood for Ladakh. 57-year -old scientist commenced his 21-day climate fast last week on March 6 after talks between Ladakh leaders and the Home Ministry failed.

Political and social groups in Ladakh are demanding statehood and the Sixth Schedule to protect the fragile ecology and culture of the region. They are also advocating for separate Lok Sabha seats for Kargil and Leh districts. Sonam Wangchuk said that his 21-day fast was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. “By engaging in such a fast, we are hurting ourselves instead of harming anyone else,” he stated.

Further elaborating, Wangchuk said, “The 21-day fast is the longest fast that the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, undertook for India’s independence. I intend to follow the same peaceful path that Mahatma Gandhi pursued.”

Sonam Wangchuk, a prominent social activist and leader from Ladakh, previously conducted a similar fast unto death last year, demanding the implementation of the Sixth Schedule in the region. Wangchuk has now initiated a 21-day climate fast once again, urging for the recognition of the Sixth Schedule status and statehood for Ladakh.

The Sixth Schedule, a provision of the Indian Constitution, grants special status and protection to tribal areas, safeguarding their distinct cultural and social identity. The people of Ladakh argue that the government must address their longstanding demands promptly.

“The region has grappled with issues of identity, autonomy, and development for decades, and the demand for the Sixth Schedule is viewed as a crucial step in addressing these concerns,” Wangchuk expressed. The Sixth Schedule would empower Ladakh with greater autonomy in decision-making, particularly concerning land, resources, and cultural preservation.

As news of Wangchuk’s fast spreads rapidly, it garners widespread support and solidarity from the people of Ladakh. Many recognize the significance of his sacrifice and stand in solidarity with him. Social media platforms overflow with messages of support, urging the government to heed Wangchuk’s demands and promptly address the grievances of the people of Ladakh.

Last year, after a series of protests and even hunger strikes led by Sonam Wangchuk and others, the government was finally compelled to recognize the movement. Subsequently, after several days of intense discussions, officials consented to enter negotiations with representatives from Ladakh.

However, nearly a year of talks and meetings has failed to yield a resolution, prompting the people of Ladakh and Sonam Wangchuk to return to the streets in protest. Thousands join Wangchuk in protesting for the implementation of the Sixth Schedule in Ladakh.

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