[Answered] What is the rationale behind the demand for special constitutional status for Ladakh?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain rationale behind the demand for special constitutional status for Ladakh.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Civil society groups in Ladakh have been demanding protection of land, resources and employment for the past three years after the special status of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution was read down by Parliament in 2019.             The sixth schedule under Article 244 of the Constitution protects the autonomy of tribal populations through the creation of autonomous development councils which can frame laws on land, public health and agriculture. As of now, ten autonomous councils exist in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Rationale behind the demand for special constitutional status for Ladakh:

  • Since 2019, many Ladakhis have realized that their true need for relatively free and autonomous functioning, as well as significant local employment generation, remains a mirage.
  • Before the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (AHDC)election, the region was promised Sixth Schedule status, similar to what is seen in some parts of north-east IndiaThis promise has yet to be fulfilled.
  • In Ladakh, tribal communities account for nearly 97 percent of the population. Thus, the people of Ladakh desire statehood under the terms of autonomy offered to the four states named in the sixth schedule.
  • The inclusion of Ladakh in the sixth schedule would give the regional council autonomy in legislative, judicial, and financial matters.
  • The fear of big businesses and conglomerates taking away land and jobs from the local people has contributed to this demand.

A constitutional status that allows for locally determined pathways, driven by a sensitive local population, can help avoid the disastrous path that many other parts of India have taken.

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