Sonam Wangchuk, a Ladakhi leader, said on Saturday that he had been put under house arrest at his institute and was not allowed to go to Khardung La by the police. This was a day before the end of his five-day climate fast.
Wangchuk also showed a copy of the bond that the Ladakh administration gave him. The bond said that he couldn’t say anything about the recent events in Leh district, make any public comments or speeches, or hold or take part in public gatherings. The bond also told him that he could only fast on his own property.
CALLING LAWYERS OF THE WORLD!!!
The #Ladakh UT administration wants me to sign this bond even when only fasts & prayers r happening
How right is it, should I silence myself!
I don’t mind arrest at all#ClimateFast #6thSchedule #LiFE #saveladakh@AmitShah @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/Lq0gZPOtOf
— Sonam Wangchuk (@Wangchuk66) January 28, 2023
“Under the sixth schedule of Article 244 of the Indian Constitution, I have called for a five-day climate fast to save and protect the Himalayas, the glaciers, Ladakh, and the people who live there. I was told at first that the police were there to protect me, so I didn’t think anything else of it,” Wangchuk said in a video on Twitter.
Senior Superintendent of Police in Leh, P D Nitya, told PTI that the charges were not true. He said, “He (Wangchuk) was not given permission by the administration to hold a five-day fast at Khardung La pass, where temperatures drop below minus 40 degrees Celsius. Moving to the place was dangerous for him and his followers, so he was asked to keep the fast at his Himalayan Institute of Alternatives Ladakh (HIAL) campus.
4th day of my #ClimateFast to #SaveLadakh under #6thSchedule of Indian constitution.
You all can join me tomorrow 30th Jan, last day of my fast. You can organise a 1 day fast in your area in solidarity with #Ladakh & ur own surroundings#climate #ILiveSimply pic.twitter.com/lYT9ngqR0b
— Sonam Wangchuk (@Wangchuk66) January 29, 2023
The CPM also criticised the government, saying that Wangchuk couldn’t talk about putting the Union Territory on Schedule 6 of the Constitution because he was under house arrest.
“‘3 Idiots’ was based on the life of Sonam Wangchuk, who won the Magsaysay Award. He started a campaign to protect what makes Ladakh special, and now he is stuck at home! Can’t talk about Schedule 6 or the risks of climate change, and can’t talk about Republic Day! Sitaram Yechury, the General Secretary of the CPI(M), called it “reprehensible” in a tweet.
Wangchuk, who was the inspiration for the main character in the movie “3 Idiots,” started his five-day climate fast on January 26 on top of Khardung La, where the temperature drops to -40 degrees Celsius, to bring the needs of the people of Ladakh to the attention of the Centre. Among the demands was an extension of the Constitution’s sixth schedule and protection of the environment from unchecked industrial and commercial growth in the Union Territory. Last week, he also said that protecting the environment is the most important thing in Ladakh, where two-thirds of the glaciers are gone.
With inputs from PTI