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Sonam Wangchuk on claims he requested a referendum

Ulyaktopo: Climate activist Sonam Wangchuk said on Monday that a small excerpt from his recent interaction was “distorted” and “taken out of context” to show that he was talking about Kashmir and making an anti-national statement.

“Distorting statements is not right. I have not said anything about Kashmir,” Wangchuk said PTI here, adding: “It’s sad when statements are twisted and small clips circulate…”

The activist also claimed that his statement was distorted and that he was quoted out of context.

“A politician from Kargil said that Ladakh should be re-merged with Kashmir. I objected to that and said that it was okay if this was his personal opinion, but if all the people of Kargil feel this way, they can do that. But Ladakh will continue. to be a UT,” he said.

“We are not interested in another merger with Kashmir. That was the context. A small clip from that interview was shown in such a way that it looked like I was talking about Kashmir and making an anti-national statement,” Wangchuk added.

He was referring to a video clip that surfaced on Sunday in which he told some leaders who had proposed merger with Kashmir in case statehood was not granted that a referendum should be held in Kargil if that was the public view.

The alleged clip was shared by several users on ‘X’ claiming that Wangchuk had requested a referendum in Kashmir.

“It is sad that some groups try to make a patriot sound anti-national. If someone is anti-national, he or she should be converted into a nationalist. On the contrary, here a patriot is depicted as an anti-national,” Wangchuk said.

“India cannot benefit from such things, perhaps it serves the interests of some small groups. Ladakh is a sensitive border region. If they do, people will get tired of such tricks,” he added.

In a recent interview with PTIReplying to a question about the views of some leaders in Kargil on re-merging with Jammu and Kashmir if statehood is not granted, Wangchuk had said, “It may be the personal opinion of some people. But if anyone thinks he wants to, go back to J&K, the government can look into it.”

Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated in August 2019 following the abrogation of Article 370 and split into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Being a separate Union territory was primarily a demand of Leh, which witnessed post-partition celebrations. However, concerns over employment and guarantees for the region dominated by a tribal population took center stage, culminating in protests demanding guarantees under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

Representatives of the Leh Apex Body (LAB) and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), representing the social, political and religious groups of the two areas, held a series of meetings with a high-level committee of the Union Home Ministry on their demands for implementation of the Sixth Schedule, statehood, job reservation, a separate public service commission for Ladakh and two parliamentary seats for Leh and Kargil.

Published May 20, 2024, 3:59 PM IST