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Ladakh: Islamists oppose construction of Monastery in Kargil, ask administration to stop Buddhist monk’s march in support of the Monastery

The Buddhist march in support of the monastery is facing opposition from local Muslims

The situation is tense in Ladakh as on June 14, a march (Peace Pad Yatra) led by His Eminence, the 8th Choskyong Palga Rinpoche, is scheduled to reach Muslim-dominant Kargil. The march is facing opposition from local Muslims as it is in support of the construction of Gompa (Buddhist Monastery) on a 2-Kanal land that was allocated to the minority Buddhist community by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir in 1961. The march started from Leh on May 31 and will conclude in Kargil.

The journey was started by Choskyong Palga Rinpoche with the aim of laying the foundation stone of the Monastery on the allotted site. Notably, though the land was allocated for the Monastery, the then-government of J & K changed the use of land allegedly under the pressure of the local Muslim population and halted the construction of the Gompa.

The Buddhist community condemned threatening speeches by Islamists

On June 11, Ladakh Buddhist Association (Kargil) held a meeting, and all members of the Buddhist community unanimously decided to extend support to the march. The Youth Wing of LBA is providing support to the march in terms of boarding, lodging and other preparations.

LBA extended support to the march. Source: Twitter/AnkurSharma_Adv

During the meeting, they condemned the provocative and threatening speeches and statements made against the proposed Monastery by Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust (IKMT), Kargil, and Islamia School, Kargil. In a statement, LBA said, “Everyone strongly condemned the provocative and threatening speeches given by IKMT, Kargil and Islamia School, Kargil heads which were purely done with an intention to provoke common people and the youths in order to disrupt the peaceful environment as well as create a Law and Order situation in Union Territory of Ladakh.”

LBA Chief Skarma Dadul alleged that Buddhists were being stopped from constructing a monastery in Kargil. He said, “We don’t want to create any tension, but it is our right to have a proper place of worship.” OpIndia tried reaching out to Skarma but could not connect.

Muslim bodies from Kargil opposed the march

Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) had written to the District Magistrate, Kargil, opposing the march led by Choskyong Palga Rinpoche. In its letter, KDA claimed that the march was politically motivated and pointed out that it was led by a monk of Tibetan origin. They further claimed that the intention of the march was to disturb the communal harmony and peace in the area.

KDA Statement against march. Source: Twitter/AnkurSharma_Adv

KDA further alleged that a meeting was held with LBA where it was unanimously agreed that the issue must be solved amicably and by the general consensus of the main stakeholders. It further claimed that KDA was the main stakeholder in the meeting as the religious organizations of Kargil handed over the matter to the organization.

KDA called Choskyong Palga Rinpoche a ‘third party in the matter which has no stake in the construction of Gompa in Kargil. KDA urged the local administration not to allow the march to enter Kargil.

The dispute over the Gompa construction

On March 15, 1961, the then-Government of Jammu & Kashmir, General Department, Ladakh Affairs, sanctioned Khalsa land measuring 2 Kanals in Monza, Kargil, to Ladakh Buddhist Association for the construction of Buddhist Temple and Sarai. It was clearly mentioned in the order that religious construction was allowed on the land.

GoJ&K allocated land for Gompa. Source: Twitter/AnkurSharma_Adv

However, on June 18, 1969, the then-Government of Jammu & Kashmir issued another order and changed the use of land. The order stated that the land allotted to LBA could only be used for the construction of residential or commercial buildings and refused to allow religious construction on the land. Since then, the Buddhists of Kargil have been fighting for their right to a proper place of worship.

GoJ&K changed Use of Land. Source: Twitter/AnkurSharma_Adv

The locals who oppose the construction of Gompa have claimed that no Buddhists live within a 20 KM radius of the allotted land. They further said the building that stands on the land is a guest house for Buddhists, and it should remain a guest house only. On the other hand, the Buddhists said that the locals do not allow even the repair work at the already-standing building. A meeting was held between KDA and LBA on May 26, where it was decided that the stakeholders would decide over the matter if Gompa could be allowed or not.

‘Every community has right to worship’ Ladakh BJP VP Dorjey Angchuk

Speaking to OpIndia, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (Ladakh) Vice President Dorjey Angchuk said that every community has the right to worship, and Gompa should be constructed.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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