'Leh turned into war zone': Sonam Wangchuk says govt wants to brand Ladakhis as anti-nationals

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Ahead of the Pashmina march along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Sonam Wangchuk raised concern about the attempts to arrest peaceful youth leaders and even singers. Pointing towards the use of “disproportionate force, barricades, and smoke grenades,” the climate activist said that Leh is being turned into a war zone.

“Attempts to arrest peaceful youth leaders even singers continue. Seems they want to turn a most peaceful movement violent & then brand Ladakhis as anti-nationals,” he said in his latest video shared on social media on Saturday.

In his video, Sonam Wangchuk claimed that the government is only worried about “Ladakh’s effects on their votes and mining lobbies.”

Attempts to arrest peaceful protesters 

In his nearly 6-minute video, the engineer-turned-education reformist shared an incident where a few people were taken from the protest site to the police station. They were forced to sign papers at the station and were threatened with arrest, alleged Wangchuk. However, the situation was pacified after local religious leaders of different faiths went to the police station for their release, said Sonam Wangchuk in his video. 

Section 144 imposed in Ladakh’s Leh

Sonam Wangchuk announced the ‘Pashmina march’ on April 7 in areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Sonam Wangchuk. Soon after the announcement, section 144 was imposed in Ladakh’s Leh. The decision received severe backlash from Wangchuk who claimed that people had been protesting peacefully for the past few weeks and there was no need for such strict order in the area.

There are reliable indications of apprehension of breach of peace and public tranquillity in the district, the District Magistrate, Santosh Sukhadeve, said in his order released on Friday.

“Whereas, it is desirable that any breach of peace, disturbance to public tranquillity or danger to human life be immediately prevented. Therefore, 1, Santosh Sukhadeve, IAS, District Magistrate, Leh satisfied with the report of Sr. Superintendent of Police, Leh and in the exercise of powers vested in me under Section 144 of CrPC, 1973.”

Sonam Wangchuk recently concluded his 21-day fast, in which he survived 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.

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Published: 06 Apr 2024, 02:32 PM IST

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