Climate activist Sonam Wangchuk, who ended his 21-day hunger strike on Tuesday to demand statehood for Ladakh and its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, said “the pain of broken promises and that cannot be presented as anti-national”. Wangchuk also said that he was “not at all” against the Central government but would like to appeal to it “not to be against Ladakh”.

In an exclusive interview with India Today’s Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai after he broke his fast on Tuesday, Wangchuk said, “We are not at all against the Central government. We would just appeal to the Central government not to be against Ladakh. All we are asking is to keep your promises. What’s wrong with that?”

“If you cant, (then) ask somebody to keep your promise, or hold (them) accountable. Then you had better be in China, born in China, not in a democratic country like India. We are just crying under the pain of broken promises and that cannot be presented as anti-national. We are actually saying ‘protect the nation, we are losing land’,” he added.

When asked about what the “specific promise” was, Wangchuk said the “safeguard” of Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

“In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, they (Centre) promised that Ladakh would be safeguarded under the Sixth Schedule, and this was their top agenda. Months after that, they went silent. Years after that, they started disliking us for reminding them about it… We are only seeking that. Is that anti-national?” he questioned.

The climate activist also told India Today TV that he was not joining politics, adding that “we are way past that and are appealing to the nation, so that the nation makes a dent in the elections elsewhere on the Ladakh issue”.

“It is now time to move the nation, to express their voice and call the government to choose between keeping their promises and proving that their guarantees work or proving everything is just farce; a jumla,” he said. “I won’t join politics,”

On how to “break the ice” on the Ladakh issue, the activist and innovator said, “We have been trying to break the ice for four and a half years, with folded hands telling them Ladakh’s ‘Mann ki Baat’. Even now we are hoping that there’s no darkness at the end of the tunnel. even now we are hoping they will give us assurance. All will be well and everyone will be happy. and they will win a seat here if they keep their promise.”

Speaking about his future plans following the end of his hunger strike, Wangchuk said the he was about to extend his fast, but the people said “we will continue it”.

“It will be a relay fast that will go on for a long time. From tomorrow (Wednesday), women’s groups will hold a 10-day fast. After that, youth groups, followed by monks from monasteries. After that, elderly people will continue and later I might also sit again later,” he said, adding that it will go on until the demands are met.

Published By:

Karishma Saurabh Kalita

Published On:

Mar 27, 2024

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