Annoyed over no entry from VIP gate, Leh Councilors boycott R-Day function

Controversy marred the main Republic Day celebration function in Union Territory Ladakh as some Councilors of LAHDC Leh boycotted the official event after they were allegedly denied entry into the venue through the VIP gate.

Anguished over the treatment meted out to them, these Councilors from Congress and BJP besides Independents, announced to separately organize forthcoming Independence and Republic Day celebration functions.

Even as ADGP Ladakh, S S Khandare soon ordered attachment of a Police Sub Inspector and Constable, who was on duty at the said gate at the time of the incident, Member of Parliament Ladakh, Jamyang Namgyal and Chairman of LAHDC Leh, Advocate Tashi Gyalson has demanded a thorough investigation into the episode besides strict action against the guilty.

The purported incident took place on Wednesday outside the Polo Ground Leh, where the official function in connection with the Republic Day celebration was being held.

“We were not allowed to enter the Republic Day main function at Leh and it has deeply hurt us as public representatives were not given respect despite being formally invited for the event,” said the aggrieved Councilor while talking to media persons after the incident.

Claiming that all other officers from Civil, Police and Army were allowed to enter from the same gate while the Councilor was denied, they alleged that the move seemed to be a deliberate attempt to dis-empower Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Institutions.

“This is an insult to the public of Ladakh we are representing,” said the Councilors and announced that in such circumstances, they may think of celebrating Independence and Republic Day functions separately with District level officers and public of Ladakh.

Morup Dorjay of BJP, one of the aggrieved Councillors who were denied permission to enter from the VIP gate, said: “We had received the formal invitation cards for the function. We had come together in an official vehicle. All of us were denied permission for around 15 minutes, we were made to stand there.”

Admitting that police and other officials later approached them and asked them to enter the venue, he added: “All of us, however, unanimously rejected their plea since we are public representatives and cannot tolerate disrespect to the Council Institution.”

“It’s a bureaucratic rule and seems like a colonial era,” alleged the Councilors, who refused to be pacified.

Meanwhile, MP Ladakh, Jamyang Namgyal has demanded a thorough investigation into the incident and strict action against the erring officials.

“It is disheartening to know that Hon’ble Councilors, including former Executive Councilor of LAHDC Leh, were denied to enter the Republic Day celebration venue despite having the invitation,” he said in a statement and urged the Lt Governor to conduct a thorough investigation into the unfortunate incident followed by strict actions within a time frame to uphold the dignity of Constitution and its implementation on the ground.

Terming the purported episode unfortunate, Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) Leh, Advocate Tashi Gyalson said that the matter would be investigated and strict action shall be taken against the erring officials while the same has also been assured by the Lieutenant Governor“.

I have talked to Lieutenant Governor, ADGP, and Advisor to the LG while the SSP has personally gone to the residence of Councilors to talk to them,” he said adding that it was important to hear both the parties.

Meanwhile, as per an order PHQ-UTL/PA/Inq/2022, issued by ADGP Ladakh, S S Khandare, Sub Inspector Teswang Paljor and Constable Abdul Gani has been attached to District Police Lines (DPL) Leh with immediate effect against pending inquiry.

Amidst the controversy, a former Executive Councilor of Kargil has also complained to Lt Governor Ladakh about ignoring public representatives in extending an invitation for the Republic Day function.

In a letter to Lt Governor R K Mathur, former Executive Councilor LAHDC Kargil, Skalzang Wangyal Gara has complained that the administration of Zanskar Sub Davison, headed by SDM Zanskar, Sonam Dorjay, ignored public representatives, including himself, in extending an invitation for Republic Day 2022 celebration function, which not only undermines the democratic institutions but also clearly depicts the dictatorship of officers and misuse of official position.