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Sonam Wangchuk Ends Hunger Strike after 21 days, Women to Continue ‘Climate Fast’ in Ladakh

Leh: Renowned education reformist and climate activist, Sonam Wangchuk, concluded his 21-day hunger strike on Tuesday, emphasizing that while his fast had ended, the movement for Ladakh’s statehood and ecological protection would persist. Wangchuk, who had been fasting in sub-zero temperatures in Leh since March 6, passed on the baton to women protesters, who are set to commence a ‘climate fast’ from tomorrow.

“This is just the end of phase 1 of the hunger strike of 21 days and not the end of the movement. From tomorrow, the hunger strike of women would start and it would continue similarly as long as it takes,” Wangchuk conveyed to his supporters gathered at the venue.

The hunger strike led by Wangchuk comes as a demand for Ladakh’s statehood and its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Despite reminders and appeals to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fulfill promises made to the people of Ladakh, Wangchuk expressed disappointment over the lack of response from the government.

“While India is the mother of democracy, we citizens have a very special power. We are the kingmakers, we can compel a government to change their ways or change the government if that doesn’t work. Let us remember to use our ballot power very carefully this time in the interest of the nation,” Wangchuk urged, drawing attention to the promises made by the BJP in its election manifestoes.

Wangchuk’s hunger strike garnered support from various quarters, with around 60,000 of Ladakh’s 3 lakh residents participating in the demonstration. The agitation, spearheaded jointly by the Leh-based Apex Body and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), aims to safeguard Ladakh’s fragile ecosystem and preserve its unique indigenous tribal cultures.

“We are trying to remind and awaken the consciousness of our Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to safeguard the fragile ecosystem of Himalayan mountains in Ladakh and the unique indigenous tribal cultures that thrive here,” Wangchuk emphasized.

As Wangchuk’s fast comes to an end, the continuation of the ‘climate fast’ by women protesters underscores the unwavering resolve to press for Ladakh’s statehood and ecological preservation, signaling a sustained effort to address the region’s pressing concerns.

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