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Separate administrative, revenue divisions for Ladakh - Majority is Buddhist

The cold desert region of Ladakh has been declared as the third administrative division of Jammu and Kashmir.
Governor Satya Pal Malik's administration on Friday granted divisional status to the cold desert region which remains cut off from the outside world for six months due to harsh winter.
The move is widely seen as politically motivated, in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and assembly polls in the state.
The Ladakh Lok Sabha seat was won by the Bharatiya Janata Party's Thupstan Chhewang in 2014 by a wafer-thin margin of 13 votes against the Congress.
The BJP's popularity, however, has taken a hit as was evident from the elections for Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) and Kargil Autonomous Hill Development Council (KAHDC).
In November, Chhewang resigned from the party and Lok Sabha over the failure of the party to deliver on the promises made to the people of Ladakh.
According to an official statement, the division comprising the districts of Leh and Kargil will now have its own divisional commissioner and inspector general of police both based in Leh.
Currently, the region was considered as part of the administrative division of Kashmir.
A committee under the chairmanship of principal secretary to the planning, development, and monitoring department of the government will soon identify different posts and staffs needed to make the new division functional.
The Muslims form a majority in the region though Buddhists are a majority in Leh who have been demanding a Union Territory status for the region.
The residents of Kargil, however, identify more with the Kashmir. The demand for upgrading the status of the region has been persistent for the creation of many organisations including the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDC) in Leh and Kargil.
Ladakh is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and is the highest plateau in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, with most of it being over 9,800 feet above sea level.
Reacting to the development, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah in a series of tweets promised division status for Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal regions if his party was voted to power in the upcoming elections.
“After the elections of 2019 should the people of J&K repose faith in @JKNC_ our government will grant division status to Chenab valley & Pir Panchal regions as already laid out in our regional autonomy promise,” he tweeted.
He said in another tweet: “We will take care of regional & sub-regional aspirations. We won’t adopt the pick & choose approach of the Governor but will instead take a holistic view & address the wider problems. Our regional autonomy document will be our template.”

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