Ladakhi innovator Sonam Wangchuk on 'climate fast', claims he is put under house arrest
Leh: Sonam Wangchuk, a prominent engineer and innovator whose life inspired the main character in the Bollywood blockbuster "3 Idiots”, has claimed that he was placed under house arrest, a charge denied by the police.
Police said the Ladakh-based innovator announced a five day hunger strike at 18,380 feet high Khardung La from January 26 to attract the attention of the BJP-led Centre towards the demands of the people of Ladakh, including the extension of the sixth schedule of the Constitution and environmental protection from unabated industrial and commercial expansion.
The police have denied the allegation saying that Wangchuk was denied permission as the temperature at Khardung La pass falls below minus 40 degree Celsius.
As a result, Wangchuk and his followers would have exposed themselves to high risk, Senior Superintendent of Police, Leh, P D Nitya was quoted as saying by TOI.
Accordingly, he was requested to observe the fast at his Himalayan Institute of Alternatives (HIAL), Ladakh, she added.
Except BJP, almost all major political parties, social and religious groups and student organisations have come together in Leh and Kargil districts in support of the demands, TOI reported.
They are also demanding the restoration of statehood and constitutional safeguards after the region was made a Union Territory following the abrogation Article 370 and division of Jammu & Kashmir.
SSP P D Nitya said Wangchuk was intercepted on his way to Khardung La pass and urged to return but he showed resistance.
He was then brought back to his institute under lawful action.
"He has signed a bond and police was deployed as a precautionary measure as he did not cooperate with the police,” she said.
Wangchuk has alleged that he was placed under house arrest, adding that it was worst than the house arrest “….actually worse than the house arrest at the institute where I had started the five-day fast coinciding the Republic Day.”
"I have announced a five-day climate fast to save and safeguard the the Himalayas, the glaciers, Ladakh and its people under the sixth schedule of Article 244 of the Indian Constitution. I was initially told that the policemen were for my safety and I didn’t take it otherwise,” he said.
ALL IS NOT WELL in Ladakh!— Sonam Wangchuk (@Wangchuk66) January 21, 2023
In my latest video I appeal to @narendramodi ji to intervene & give safeguards to eco-fragile Ladakh.
To draw attention of Govt & the world I plan to sit on a 5 day #ClimateFast from 26 Jan at Khardungla pass at 18000ft -40 °Chttps://t.co/ECi3YlB9kU
He also tweeted a copy of the bond also shared the copy of the bond which among other things sought him to undertake that he will not make any comments, statements and public research hold or participate in public assemblies or any activity potential of endangering the peace, tranquillity and the law and order in the district for a period of one month.
“Calling lawyers of the world!!! The #Ladakh UT administration wants me to sign this bond even when only fasts & prayers r happening. Pls advise. How right is it, should I silence myself! I don't mind arrest at all,” he tweeted.
CALLING LAWYERS OF THE WORLD!!!— Sonam Wangchuk (@Wangchuk66) January 28, 2023
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
The SSP denied allegations of force against the environmentalist and desecration of religious places.
However, two youths who tried to create a law and order situation at the NDA stadium were detained but no cases were lodged against them.
Police have lodged FIRs against foreigners who joined the hunger strike with Wangchuk in violation of Visa norms.
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