Sonam Wangchuk. Photo: Screengrab from Youtube video

By Umer Maqbool

Srinagar: Innovator and Ladakhi Magsaysay Award recipient Sonam Wangchuk, who is on hunger strike to demand special status and statehood for Ladakh, on Tuesday said that Ladakhis now feel it [Ladakh] is like a colony in the olden times and officers from faraway places come to govern them.

Wangchuk, whose life inspired the character of Phunsukh Wangdu, played by Aamir Khan in Bollywood blockbuster 3 Idiots, is observing a 21-day fast, amid freezing temperatures, to press for the Union Territory’s special status under the sixth schedule of the constitution of India and statehood. These demands have dominated the politics of the region after Ladakh was dismembered from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and granted a Union Territory status in 2019 by Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government.

He started the fast on March 6 after parleys between leadership of Ladakh and Union home ministry reached a dead-end with the Apex Body Leh (ABL) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) saying that the sub-committee level talks and their separate meeting with Union home minister Amit Shah didn’t yield any concrete and positive outcome.

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