[dropcap]J[/dropcap]AMMU and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has assured the residents of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh that the government was committed to protect their identity, culture, jobs and land following abrogation of state’s special status and its bifurcation into two Union Territories.
Governor Malik’s statement has come at a time when the people of Ladakh have appealed to the Centre for safeguarding their ethnic culture, identity and land. Several prominent leaders of Ladakh including Lok Sabha MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal recently urged Centre to declare the region a tribal area under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Stressing that the region is a predominantly tribal area with tribals making up to 98 per cent of its population, he had voiced concerns and apprehensions over a possible threat to region’s demography, which is likely to endanger their cultural identity.
While Kashmir continues to reel under curfew and communications restrictions, concerns are being raised over perceived threats to “Dogra culture, heritage and identity” in the Jammu region. A few days ago, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party had appealed to the Ministry of Home Affairs to take measures to safeguard Dogra culture after the cancellation of the state’s special status.
“We will protect their (the people of Jammu and Kashmir) identity, land, culture and jobs. We won’t allow their loss on these accounts,’’ Governor Malik told a news agency, adding that “We have abrogated Articles 370 and 35-A and you will see in the coming days, we will work so much for the residents of Kashmir and create such circumstances that people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) will start saying that this part of Kashmir (J&K) is the ideal place to live.’’
Commenting on current restrictions in Kashmir, he said “Earlier when such things happened, even during the tenure of (Congress leader) Ghulam Nabi Azad several people were killed in the first week itself. Our emphasis is that no Kashmiri should lose his life. We are not in a hurry. The lives of Kashmiris are very precious for us.”