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Climate Activist Sonam Wangchuk’s Urgent Plea to PM Modi: Fulfill Promises to Ladakh, Embrace Responsibility for Himalayan Ecosystem

Climate Crusade in Ladakh: Sonam Wangchuk's Call to Action for PM Modi to Preserve Himalayan Ecology and Tribal Heritage

Leh, 26-03-2024 : Renowned climate activist Sonam Wangchuk, leading a hunger strike in Ladakh to advocate for the region’s statehood and inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, issued a heartfelt plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, urging him to honor the commitments made to the people of Ladakh.

In a series of video messages circulated on social media platform X, a visibly frail Wangchuk, now in the 21st day of his ‘climate fast’, implored the residents of Ladakh to exercise their voting rights judiciously in the upcoming elections, emphasizing the profound impact it could have on the nation.

Wangchuk’s hunger strike commenced on March 6, following a deadlock in discussions between joint representatives of Leh-based Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) with the central government regarding Ladakh’s statehood and Sixth Schedule inclusion. The Sixth Schedule encompasses provisions for the autonomous administration of tribal areas in states like Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.

Anticipating the conclusion of his hunger strike, Wangchuk stated that the Leh-based Apex Body and KDA would announce the future course of action on Wednesday.

Drawing attention to the promises outlined in BJP’s election manifestoes, Wangchuk invoked the ethos of integrity, urging Prime Minister Modi to uphold the principle of ‘pran jaye par vachan na jaye’ (one may lose their life, but must not break their promise), particularly given Modi’s professed devotion to Lord Ram.

Amidst preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, slated to be held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1, Wangchuk highlighted Ladakh’s scheduled polling on May 20 during the fifth phase.

Expressing disappointment over the lack of response from the government despite the participation of approximately 60,000 residents out of Ladakh’s 3 lakh population in the hunger strike, Wangchuk underscored the urgency of protecting Ladakh’s fragile ecosystem and preserving its indigenous tribal cultures.

Addressing Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, Wangchuk appealed to their statesmanship, urging them to demonstrate foresight and commitment to safeguarding Ladakh’s natural heritage and cultural diversity, transcending political considerations in favor of long-term sustainability and inclusivity.