Leh accords hero’s welcome to Mufti, Azad after empowerment of LAHDC
9 January 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Leh: The people of Leh today accorded an unprecedented rousing reception to Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and other leaders of alliance parties when they arrived in the land of Stupas this morning. Braving chilling cold of the sub-zero morning hour temperature, hundreds of Ladakhis dressed in their traditional best were at the airport to receive the leaders of coalition parties. The occasion was no less than a festival coming on the heels of empowerment of LAHDC that had remained a bone of contention between the people of Leh and state Government for the last 5-years. Women donning their traditional headgear, Perak, studded with Turquise and colourful Bog, a traditional apron of women for festivals, lined up at the outer gate of the airport holding Chhapskyan with flowers to greet the Chief Minister in a traditional manner. Supported by them was a group of drum beaters and Surnai. There were half a dozen Ladakhis holding Phoks through which incense is emitted, again a tradition way to welcome the dearest guest. All these persons were holding Khatak (scarf) in their hands which they put around the neck of Mufti Sayeed, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ms Mehbooba Mufti, Prof Bhim Singh and Mr. M Y Tarigami. When the motorcade entered the Leh town, hundreds of people, young, old and children had lined up on both sides of the road leading to the conference hall, greeting the leaders as their vehicles passed by. They waved the Khatak in their hands. Over 10,000 Ladakhis had assembled at historic Polo Ground to accord civic reception to Mufti Sayeed, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad and other visiting leaders. This gathering is considered to be one of the biggest in the recent times. And that too when the temperature is sub-zero.