However, this meeting is likely to be dominated by an internal issue over land in Kargil, where Buddhists want to build a temple, while Kargil residents are resisting the demand citing a 1969 government notification, which defined its use. lands. as commercial and residential, where a temple cannot be built.
Residents of Kargil also claim that no Buddhists live within a radius of more than 20 km from the land in question in the old town of Kargil. Residents said the building on this land actually served as a Sarai – guest house – for Buddhists in Leh, and should continue to operate.
Ladakh Buddhist Association President Thusptan Chewang, who also heads the Leh Apex body, is likely to lead the LAB delegation that will meet with KDA leaders in Kargil.
“If this issue (of the temple) is resolved amicably on May 26, when KDA meets with the members of the Buddhist Association of Ladakh, then it will be easy to move forward on other issues that we are fighting for together. It is not a big problem and should be solved. This issue has become a stumbling block as religious bodies in Kargil oppose the construction of the temple and do not even allow the existing building to be repaired,” said said Chering Dorje, a former lawmaker and member of the LAB.He said that this land measuring less than two kanals was given to the Buddhists in 1961 but later in 1969, at the insistence of the inhabitants, the government of the time changed land use of this land and has mentioned in official documents that a temple cannot be built there.
Religious bodies in Kargil recently held a joint meeting where they empowered KDA to resolve the issue of this land with members of the Buddhist community.
“Some people from Leh Apex Body are coming to meet us on May 26 to discuss state building and other issues that we have requested from the central government. The BJP government had assured us that they would call us for a meeting and that our demands would be met, but he has not responded so far,” KDA co-chairman Qamar Ali Akhoon said.
He said that if Apex Body raises the land issue in Kargil, the KDA will also present their views and try to resolve any issues amicably. “We will endeavor to solve every problem after due consultation and dialogue. Problems cannot be solved by fighting. Nothing should harm our common harmony and brotherhood. The interests of both communities would be taken into account,” Akhoon said.
The two bodies, formed to ensure the protection of UT’s identity, land, jobs and culture, joined forces in August last year to demand statehood be granted to the Ladakh, constitutional safeguards including implementation of Sixth Schedule, two Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha seat and filling over 10,000 vacancies to tackle unemployment in UT. The BJP in Ladakh has distanced itself from the top body’s demand for statehood, but supports other demands.
Representatives from across the Ladakh region have accused the BJP-led government in New Delhi of not being serious and adopting stalling tactics. BJP ministers, after holding deliberations with Leh and Kargil leaders last year, promised to follow up with concrete steps on the ground, but nothing has been done so far.
“After 2019, when Kargil and Leh are united, some people deliberately try to foment communal unrest to derail this unity and weaken our political struggle… Interestingly, there are no Buddhist residents within the radius of 20 km from this land. If a Buddhist wants to build a temple, he can do it anywhere in the periphery, anywhere there is a Buddhist population,” said KDA member Sajjad Kargili.