BJP is “playing with fire”: Mehbooba on creation of Ladakh division

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir): Opposing the creation of a separate division for Ladakh region, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Wednesday that the BJP is “playing with fire” by trying to create a “communal divide” in the state.

Talking to the media in Srinagar, she alleged, “You (BJP) are trying to break the Muslim majority character of the state. Your aim is to create a divide between Shia-Sunni, Gujjar-Pahari, Kashmiri-Pandits and many others. You are playing with fire.”

“The Centre must take care of the sentiments of the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. They must not ignore Pir Panchal and Chenab valley. This move seems to have a hidden agenda. It seems that Governor Satya Pal Malik is pushing the BJP’s agenda by ignoring other equally deserving regions,” Mehbooba, who is the PDP president, said.
“We will not let the BJP accomplish its agenda,” she said and demanded the officials function on a rotational basis – in Kargil during summer and in Leh during winter.

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday approved the creation of a separate Administrative Revenue Division for Ladakh, said an order issued by Governor Malik.

This division will comprise Leh and Kargil districts with its headquarters at Leh. Now, J and K will have three divisions–Jammu, Ladakh, and Kashmir.

The creation of two posts of Divisional Commissioner and Inspector General of Police (IGP) has been sanctioned for the new division.

Ladakh is one of the most sparsely populated regions in J and K and is the highest plateau in the state, with most of it being over 9,800 feet above sea level.

The region is geographically isolated with an inhospitable terrain. Consequently, the region is riddled with insurmountable problems with respect to delivery of developmental schemes, redressal of public grievances, the conduct of administrative affairs and governance, according to the government.

The people of Ladakh have for a long time been demanding effective local institutional arrangements which can help accelerate the pace of development and equitable all-round growth and development, it had stated.

“At present, the powers of local governance have already been decentralised by the formation of Hill Development Councils for the Lehand Kargil Districts. This was given effect by enacting the Jammu and Kashmir Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act, 1997,” the order had stated.

Under the said Act, the Hill Development Councils were established both for Leh and Kargil districts.

The decision came after various organisations discussed the issue and put up a persistent demand for the creation of a division for Ladakh including the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDC) Leh and Kargil.

As per the Governor’s official statement, this decision of the government will go a long way in fulfilling the governance and development aspirations of the people of Ladakh region.

Mehbooba also justified her demand of getting the mortal remains of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru back to Kashmir.

“This is a demand that has been made by the PDP since Afzal Guru was hanged. Not only Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) saheb had appealed to the President that the man should be forgiven, we also requested that his body be given to his family. Our stand on it has not changed,” she added.