Ladakh is battling communal tension amidst incidents of violence and incidents spread in the country! The march of a Buddhist monk in the country’s northernmost union territory of Ladakh has created tension. The march started on 31st May by the monks of Buddhist-dominated Leh, ends on June 14th in the Muslim-majority Kargil and they want to build a Buddhist Vihara in Kargil! More than one thousand people are involved in the journey starting from Leh.
Buddhist Guru Choskyeong Palga Rinpoche along with his followers embarked on a journey with the aim of laying the foundation of a monastery at a controversial site in Kargil. Members of the Muslim community have already objected to the proposed unilateral decision.
Buddhist community claims
The Buddhist community says that in the year 1961, a building was constructed in the main market of Kargil which was Buddha’s Mithori. For the Vihara of the Buddhist community living in Kargil, the seniors of the area gave permission for the construction on two kanals, but in 1969 after the death of the remaining Buddhists, the construction was stopped. There are 91 percent Muslims in Kargil and those who follow Buddhism. He lives mostly in Janskar! There are hardly any people of Buddhist community living in Kargil district headquarters.
But now after a gap of fifty years, the Buddhist community has started a movement to build this monastery again! The issue assumes significance for the state as the members of both the communities formed an alliance for the first time in 2021 to raise their demand for the Sixth Schedule of Ladakh to protect the local heritage, culture and rights of the people. But now this march Muslim and Buddhist community members have turned against each other!
Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), an organization of social and religious organizations in Kargil, has already written a letter to the Deputy Commissioner Kargil protesting the march and terming it as politically motivated and a conspiracy to disturb communal harmony in Ladakh! “KDA has held a meeting with representatives of Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) on the issue of construction of a gompa (monastery) in Kargil. Both the bodies agreed that the issue should be resolved amicably,” the letter read.
Under such circumstances, any outside interference in this matter is an attempt to disturb the peace in the area” the KDA wrote in the pot!
While the KDA and the LBA are discussing the matter, the Kargil unit of the LBA has extended support to Sadhu. Its chief Scarma Dadul said that Buddhists were not being allowed to build monasteries in Kargil. “We don’t want to create any tension, but it is our right to have a proper place of worship,” he said.
The administration and the police have geared up to deal with the emerging situation and the police have been asked to deal with the situation. But the local people allege that the local administration is joining hands with the protesters and wants to disturb the peace in the Kargil area.
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.