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Did not make any statement on Kashmir: Sonam Wangchuk on claims he sought referendum

'A politician from Kargil said Ladakh should be re-merged with Kashmir. I objected to that and said it was ok if this was his personal view, but if all people of Kargil feel this way, they can do that. But Ladakh will continue to be a UT,' Wangchuk said.
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 15:59 IST
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 15:59 IST

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Ulyaktopo: Climate activist Sonam Wangchuk said on Monday a small clip from his recent interaction was "twisted" and "taken out of context" in a way to show that he was talking about Kashmir and giving an anti-national statement.

"Twisting statements is not right. I have said nothing on Kashmir," Wangchuk told PTI here, adding, "It is sad when statements are twisted and small clips circulated..."

The activist also alleged that his statement was twisted and he was quoted out of context.

"A politician from Kargil said Ladakh should be re-merged with Kashmir. I objected to that and said it was ok if this was his personal view, but if all 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 re-merging with Kashmir. That was the context. A small clip from that (interview) was shown in a way that it appeared I was talking about Kashmir and giving an anti-national statement," Wangchuk added.

He was referring to a video clip that surfaced on Sunday showing him tell some leaders who had suggested merging with Kashmir in case statehood was not awarded that a referendum should be done in Kargil if it was the popular opinion.

The purported clip was shared on 'X' by several users with the claim that Wangchuk sought a referendum in Kashmir.

"It is sad some groups are trying to make a patriot sound anti-national. If someone is anti-national, they should be converted into a nationalist. On the contrary, here a patriot is being portrayed as an anti-national," Wangchuk said.

"India can't benefit from such things, maybe it serves the interest of some small groups. Ladakh is a sensitive border region. If they do so, people will get tired of such tricks," he added.

In a recent interview with PTI, responding to a question on views expressed by 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 someone feels that they want to go back to J&K, the government can look at it."

Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated in August 2019 after the abrogation of Article 370 and carved into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Being a separate Union territory was primarily a demand of Leh, where celebrations were witnessed after the bifurcation. However, concerns over employment and safeguards for the region dominated by a tribal population took centre stage, spiralling into protests demanding safeguards under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution.

Representatives from the Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), which represent the social, political and religious groups of the two areas, have held a series of meetings with a high-powered committee of the Union home ministry over their demands for 6th Schedule implementation, statehood, job reservation, a separate public service commission for Ladakh and two parliamentary seats for Leh and Kargil.

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Published 20 May 2024, 15:59 IST

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