Why innovator Sonam Wangchuk held 5-day fast and how he managed it in Ladakh’s freezing temperatures?

Innovator Sonam Wangchuk opposes saving Ladakh
Image source: Twitter Innovator Sonam Wangchuk opposes saving Ladakh

Ladakh protest: Engineer and innovator Sonam Wangchuk’s 5-day fast ended on Monday. They protested demanding extension of the Sixth Schedule (special status) of the Constitution and environmental protection from uncontrolled industrial and commercial expansion in Ladakh.

A unique ‘carbon neutral’ protest

In a video clip posted on Twitter, he explained how he survived temperatures of -20 to -40 degree Celsius at an altitude of 18,380 feet. He demonstrated the unique equipment which helped him in the last 5 days.

Who is Wangchuk?

Born in Uletokpo near Alchi in Leh district, 56-year-old Wangchu won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for reforming his community-run education system in remote northern India, thereby improving life opportunities for Ladakhi youth.

Connection of the movie ‘3 Idiots’

The education reformist, who inspired a key character in the Bollywood blockbuster “3 Idiots”, began a hunger strike from January 26 at 18,380 feet high Khardung La at -20 to -40 degree Celsius to draw attention to the Centre’s demands . People of Ladakh.

The news of being put under house arrest, the police denied the allegations

The engineer and innovator on Saturday claimed that he has been kept under house arrest at his institute here, a charge refuted by police that he was stopped only from observing a five-day fast at the top of Khardung La.

In a tweet on Saturday, Wangchuk shared a copy of a bond, which, among other things, sought an undertaking that he would not make any comments, statements, public speeches, or participate in public meetings related to the recent events in Leh. will not have. District Seoni.

He said on social media that he was under house arrest, “worse than house arrest actually”. “I have announced a five-day climate fast to save and protect the Himalayas, Glaciers, Ladakh and its people under the Sixth Schedule of Article 244 of the Indian Constitution. I was initially told that policemen would be deployed for my security. and I wouldn’t have taken it otherwise,” he said.

However, the police denied his allegations.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Leh, PD Nitya said, “He (Wangchuk) was not allowed by the administration to observe a five-day fast at the Khardung La Pass as the temperature had dropped to minus 40 degrees Celsius.”

“It was too risky for him and his followers to visit the place and accordingly, he was requested to go on fast at his Himalayan Institute of Alternatives Ladakh (HIAL) campus,” he said.

He said that when he tried to move towards Khardug La, the police stopped him and requested him to return but he showed resistance and was brought back to his institute under legal action.

“He has signed a bond and police has been deployed as a precautionary measure as he did not cooperate with the police,” the officer said.

politics on protest

Barring the BJP, almost all major political parties, social and religious groups and student organizations have come together in support of Wangchuk’s demands in both Leh and Kargil districts, after the region was granted union territory status in August 2019. Statehood and constitutional safeguards.

According to Wangchuk, on the first day of the hunger strike, he attended a prayer meeting at the Chokhang Vihar Temple on public request, but was forcibly taken back to HIAL by the police, in violation of all rules.

“The system is misusing the police and they are not concerned about my safety. They are doing all this for their own safety and want to limit my voice to the campus as the UT administration is trying to address the issues and concerns of the students. I have failed miserably.” people of Ladakh,” he alleged.

The SSP denied using any force against the prominent public figure and desecrating the religious place.

“Three youths who tried to create law and order situation at NDA stadium (during a function) were detained and no FIR was registered against them.
They were freed,” she said.

FIR against foreigners

However, an FIR was lodged against some foreigners who joined the hunger strike along with Wangchuk for violating visa norms.

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