Ahead of the all-party meet that Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Jammu and Kashmir politicians on Wednesday, Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal Wednesday tweeted out that the Gupkar alliance neither has the right to speak on behalf of the people of Ladakh nor has the authority to talk about the land in Ladakh.
Why it matters?
On 18 August 2019, prominent leaders of Ladakh had made a fervent appeal to the Centre to declare the region a tribal area under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to protect its identity. In a memorandum to Union minister Arjun Munda, Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal said Ladakh is a predominantly tribal area with tribals making up to 98 percent of its population.
"After the Centre announced its decision to make Ladakh a Union Territory, the biggest concern of the tribal population here is to protect their identity, culture, land, and economy," he said. Namgyal appealed to the Union tribal affairs minister to declare it a tribal area under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to protect the interests of its people.
Based on Articles 244(2) and 275(1), the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, comprising of 21 separate articles, provide for the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, after setting up autonomous district and regional councils.
"I appeal to you to make a representation to Home Minister Amit Shah on our behalf to protect the demography and culture of Ladakh," he said. "Under the Jammu and Kashmir government, many tribal schemes could not be implemented in Ladakh. Scholarships, hostels, and schools for tribals... not much development work took place here under tribal sub-plans," the local MP had said.
What is the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution?
There are special provisions in the Constitution for the administration of the tribal-dominated areas in four states, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. As per Article 244 and the sixth schedule, these areas are called "Tribal Areas", which are technically different from the "Scheduled Areas" under the fifth schedule.
While all areas under the fifth schedule and the sixth schedule are tribal-dominated, the Constitution calls them with different names. While executive powers of the Union extend in Scheduled Areas with respect to their administration in the fifth schedule, the sixth schedule areas remain within the executive authority of the state.