A delegation of Kargil leaders, who arrived at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for a meeting on July 1, said they discussed the restoration of Article 370 and 35A, and demanded full statehood for Ladakh.
The meeting lasted for over two hours and was hosted by G Kishan Reddy, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs. Following the meeting, members of the Kargil delegation said more round of talks will be held.
"We had 2 clear agendas - restoration of Article 370 and 35A and full-fledged statehood for Ladakh. We discussed these with the Union Home Ministry for 2.5 hours. More meetings are to be followed to discuss this," said Asgar Ali Karbalai, leader of Congress and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), who was part of the delegation.
"Our agenda focused on the restoration of Article 370 and 35A. We also told that we were against division but were in favour of the state. We don't consider UT. We also discussed development," said another delegation member Qamar Ali Akhoon, who is also a leader of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and KDA.
The delegation, comprising former MPs and civil society members, was invited by the MHA days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a similar meeting with the major politicians of neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir.
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Notably, the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir - which comprised Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Kargil and Ladakh regions - was bifurcated into two Union Territories on October 31, 2019. The J&K UT comprises of Jammu and Kashmir Valley regions, whereas, the Ladakh UT includes Kargil and Ladakh regions.
Before the bifurcation came into effect, the Centre had, on August 5, 2019, abrogated Article 370 and thereby removed Article 35A. The constitutional provisions provided semi-autonomous status to the region, and allowed the erstwhile J&K legislature to define the permanent residents of the state.