A day ahead of his five-day climate fast came to a close, Ladakhi innovator Sonam Wangchuk claimed on Saturday that he had been placed under house arrest at his institute and denied entry by the police to Khardung La.
Wangchuk also shared a copy of the bond handed to him by the Ladakh administration, asking him to not make any comments, statements, public speech, hold or participate in public assemblies or any activity related to the recent events in Leh district. The bond also asked him to restrict his fast within his personal premises.
“I have announced a five-day climate fast to save and safeguard 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 are deployed for my safety and I did not take it otherwise,” Wangchuk said in a video on Twitter.
Denying the charges, Senior Superintendent of Police, Leh, P D Nitya told PTI, “He (Wangchuk) was not given permission by the administration to hold a five-day fast at Khardung La pass as the temperatures fall below minus 40 degrees Celsius there. It was high risk for him and his followers to move to the place and accordingly, he was requested to observe the fast at his Himalayan Institute of Alternatives Ladakh (HIAL) campus.”
Meanwhile, the CPM hit out at the government, saying Wangchuk’s house arrest prevented him from speaking on bringing the Union Territory under Schedule 6 of the Constitution. “Magsaysay awardee Sonam Wangchuk’s life inspired ‘3 Idiots’. He launched a campaign to safeguard Ladakh’s unique attributes and is under house arrest for this! Prevented from speaking on Schedule 6 and risks of climate change and on Republic Day! Reprehensible,” CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said in a tweet.
Wangchuk, who inspired the protagonist in the film ‘3 Idiots’, began his five-day climate fast on January 26 on top of Khardung La, where the temperature plummets to minus 40 degrees Celsius, to attract the Centre’s attention to the demands of Ladakh’s people. The demands included extension of the sixth schedule of the Constitution and environmental protection form unchecked industrial and commercial expansion in the Union Territory. He had also said last week that environmental protection is of utmost importance in Ladakh as the two-thirds of the glaciers in the region are extinct.
With inputs from PTI