A village in Ladakh in search of identity since 1971 war


Shadow of the 1971 India-Pakistan war still haunts Tyakshi village in Ladakh. Around 500 people of this hamlet, even after 46 years, cannot prove their identity as residents of Jammu & Kashmir for lack of land revenue documents.

In 1971 war, when people got displaced and many areas came under Indian control, the revenue records of Tyakshi, Turtuk, Chulunka and Thang villages remained in Skardu, which was then the revenue district headquarters and falls under Pakistan now. 

Many families of these villages also got divided due to war and their family members and relatives are now living across the border, just a few hundred meters away.

“It is a shame that these people don’t have any identity. They have to get a court affidavit every time to prove that they belong to J&K and India. This is shame for the government which makes tall claims of nationalism,” Congress legislator from Nobra, Daldin Namgyal, in whose constituency this village is located, told ET.

Some of the villagers have managed to get Aadhar cards, but this is not sufficient or admissible legally to prove that they own the land, where they have been living for decades. Without court affidavit they are also not able to prove that they are the permanent residents of the state of J&K.

Nobra is a border constituency in Ladakh with around 25000 people living in scattered villages on a mountainous terrain, sharing borders with China and Pakistan.

The revenue records of Turtuk, Chulunka and Thang villages were also in the district headquarters of Skardu, however, the government has provided revenue documents to people in these three villages. The Congress legislator has also submitted a resolution in this regard in the J&K Assembly demanding immediate issuance of revenue documents to Tyakshi residents.

“There is a huge issue of connectivity and communication in our area. This village has just 11-hour communication through BSNL and electricity connectivity through diesel generators. And these border villages considered to be the first line of defense have the weakest infrastructure,” said Namgyal.

The villages across the border under Pakistan, just few hundred meters away, Namgyal says are hugely developed with 24-hour electricity supply and macadamized roads to the last point. On other side Chinese have also developed their frontline villages in the best possible way. The government, legislators from Ladakh complain has also reduced funds under border area development program, which will adversely impact the region.

“The connectivity is so weak that locals are not even able to get money under MNREGA due to lack of Internet services, as the documents have to be uploaded online. They have to travel more than 150 kms for using Internet servies in Leh. And then the banking facilities are so weak that it takes many weeks to get their hard earned money,” said Namgyal.

Many of the families living in this area have relatives across the border in villages under Pakistan, where they visit regularly via New Delhi or Wagah border.

“Pakistan has given each family who came under their control at least 20 kanals of land and appointed one of the family member as commissioned officer. Our people, who go there are more dejected with the system when they come back,” said Namgyal.

The congress legislator also demanded that tourist arrival should be allowed in all these border areas, besides, cross border roads should be opened so that these families can meet each other regularly instead of travelling thousands of kilometers to meet a family just 300 to 500 meters away.

Economic Times