The BJP dignitaries from Ladakh in Gangtok, Sikkim on Monday

Gangtok: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionaries from Ladakh have shown keen interest in replicating Sikkim’s Article 371F with the new Union territory getting official on October 31 this year.

Asserting on the cultural and religious between Ladakh and Sikkim, the party functionaries and tourism industry stakeholders of Ladakh addressed a press conference at Press Club of Sikkim on Monday.

“We have come to understand the modalities of Sikkim government as to how it has been functioning. People in Sikkim are very advanced and there are many takeaways from Sikkim that can be implemented in Ladakh. How Sikkim has been able to protect its cultural identity, we want to protect our culture and identity similarly. We would like to replicate Article 371F of Sikkim in Ladakh for protection”, BJP president for Leh-Ladakh Dorje Angchok said.

The party functionary asserted on a cautious approach on the new developments coming to the newly created Union Territory after abrogation of Article 35A and Article 370 in the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. “We want protection of our lands, properties, employment and culture, which Sikkim is doing currently. We have been suffering for the last 70 years under the Kashmiri leadership. Now that we are freed, we are celebrating the same. In Kashmir, there have been negative reactions, but we in Ladakh are happy,” said BJP vice-president for the region, Tashi Gyalson.

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Asserting on the strategic importance of Ladakh for the entire nation, the BJP president proclaimed the peaceful stand of the UT ‘despite being squeezed between China and Pakistan’. “We don’t want to be branded as Kashmiri as whenever Kashmir faces some disturbances, tourist flow to Ladakh gets hampered. Now, advisory has been issued as to how Ladakh is not a part of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir has had its ups and downs, but Ladakh has been peaceful. Now, we are separated and directly linked with the union, so we are positive that the Central government will help us,” he added.

The Ladakh leaders also highlighted the contributions of MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal and environmentalist Sonam Wangchuk of having ascertained Ladakh’s popularity. “MP Jamyang hit at the right spot in Parliament and he has rightly spoken on how we have suffered under the Kashmiri leadership. Sonam Wangchuk has been a famous product from Ladakh, he has even helped Sikkim with regards to countering the lake burst in Lhonak Lake,” said Angchok.

At other end, the BJP leaders highlighted how leaders in Sikkim have shown interest in learning from Ladakh. “They have shown interest in learning environment solutions and exchange of sporting activities along with exchange programmes for students to understand each other better,” it was informed.

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