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Update 

On April 7, 2024, residents of Ladakh will undertake a march led by Sonam Wangchuk to the grazing lands of Pashmina herders on the Tibetan plateau. The Friends of Ladakh movement’s local chapters are also organizing local marches within their cities. You can find more about your own city here: https://linktr.ee/friendsofladakh 


Join #FriendsOfLadakh to safeguard Ladakh’s fragile ecology.

On March 6 Sonam Wangchuk launched a 21-day fast unto death. Who is Sonam Wangchuk? Sonam Wangchuk is a resident of Ladakh, mechanical engineer, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee and one of the climate activists leading the movement for Ladakh. His demand? Constitutional protections without which the ecologically diverse and vulnerable landscape of Ladakh and the tribal identity of communities from the region will be threatened due to unchecked industrialization. 

What is the issue?


In 2019, Ladakh was made a Union Territory, which was considered “a welcome step” by its residents as this move promised the possibility of greater control of residents of Ladakh over the region[1]. However, since then, the region has not formed its own Legislative Assembly, in turn lacking public representation. Due to absence of public representation, a central demand of residents of Ladakh – protection of the fragile ecology and Indigenous culture has been sidelined.


Ladakh, a region known for its glacial lakes, has become increasingly water-stressed due to changing water patterns. According to residents, the increasing number of tourists to the region and with plans for heavy and unplanned implementation of industrial projects will continue to put pressure on the natural resources. 


The developmental projects will bring some convenience to people, but no one is interested in this kind of development,” Sonam Wangchuk expresses as he continues his 21-day fast unto death. Ladakh’s residents are opposing the projects because it threatens the already fragile ecology of the region.


What are friends of Ladakh demanding? 


  1. As assured by the Government, we are demanding the extension of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution to Ladakh. 

What does that mean? The Sixth Schedule has been drafted especially for indigenous and tribal communities within the Constitution. The extension of the Sixth Schedule is crucial for the region because it will allow residents of Ladakh to make laws on “important things like land, forests, water, and mining – significant for a region in which 97 percent of the population is tribal.” [2] Particularly, the Sixth Schedule with allow the formation of local autonomous councils wherein the indigenous communities will come together to make decisions on how their region should be developed.

  1. Formation of a Legislative Assembly and a Chief Minister to administer the region by transferring power from Lieutenant Governor.


Mr. Wangchuk and Ladakh’s residents are inviting support and solidarity by expressing that “this is not just an issue of Ladakh, but entire India, one that the whole nation should support.” They have started the #FriendsOfLadakh movement, urging citizens to express our solidarity and amplify the demands of the Indigenous people of Ladakh. 


Join the movement! Stand with friends of Ladakh by signing now.

Sources:

[1] Sonam Wangchuk's hunger strike in Ladakh enters Day 15. What are his demands?

[2] Sonam Wangchuk's Twitter

Update 

On April 7, 2024, residents of Ladakh will undertake a march led by Sonam Wangchuk to the grazing lands of Pashmina herders on the Tibetan plateau. The Friends of Ladakh movement’s local chapters are also organizing local marches within their cities. You can find more about your own city here: https://linktr.ee/friendsofladakh 


Join #FriendsOfLadakh to safeguard Ladakh’s fragile ecology.

On March 6 Sonam Wangchuk launched a 21-day fast unto death. Who is Sonam Wangchuk? Sonam Wangchuk is a resident of Ladakh, mechanical engineer, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee and one of the climate activists leading the movement for Ladakh. His demand? Constitutional protections without which the ecologically diverse and vulnerable landscape of Ladakh and the tribal identity of communities from the region will be threatened due to unchecked industrialization. 

What is the issue?


In 2019, Ladakh was made a Union Territory, which was considered “a welcome step” by its residents as this move promised the possibility of greater control of residents of Ladakh over the region[1]. However, since then, the region has not formed its own Legislative Assembly, in turn lacking public representation. Due to absence of public representation, a central demand of residents of Ladakh – protection of the fragile ecology and Indigenous culture has been sidelined.


Ladakh, a region known for its glacial lakes, has become increasingly water-stressed due to changing water patterns. According to residents, the increasing number of tourists to the region and with plans for heavy and unplanned implementation of industrial projects will continue to put pressure on the natural resources. 


The developmental projects will bring some convenience to people, but no one is interested in this kind of development,” Sonam Wangchuk expresses as he continues his 21-day fast unto death. Ladakh’s residents are opposing the projects because it threatens the already fragile ecology of the region.


What are friends of Ladakh demanding? 


  1. As assured by the Government, we are demanding the extension of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution to Ladakh. 

What does that mean? The Sixth Schedule has been drafted especially for indigenous and tribal communities within the Constitution. The extension of the Sixth Schedule is crucial for the region because it will allow residents of Ladakh to make laws on “important things like land, forests, water, and mining – significant for a region in which 97 percent of the population is tribal.” [2] Particularly, the Sixth Schedule with allow the formation of local autonomous councils wherein the indigenous communities will come together to make decisions on how their region should be developed.

  1. Formation of a Legislative Assembly and a Chief Minister to administer the region by transferring power from Lieutenant Governor.


Mr. Wangchuk and Ladakh’s residents are inviting support and solidarity by expressing that “this is not just an issue of Ladakh, but entire India, one that the whole nation should support.” They have started the #FriendsOfLadakh movement, urging citizens to express our solidarity and amplify the demands of the Indigenous people of Ladakh. 


Join the movement! Stand with friends of Ladakh by signing now.

Sources:

[1] Sonam Wangchuk's hunger strike in Ladakh enters Day 15. What are his demands?

[2] Sonam Wangchuk's Twitter

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