Demchok Villages Empty: Dory9 January 2011
Srinagar: Even as an official report suggests that Chinese soldiers had entered a region in Ladakh in September-October 2010, officials said it has become a “routine exercise” by the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) to enter into the Indian Territory. In a brief chat with Greater Kashmir, former Chief Executive Councilor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (Leh), Cherring Dory-during whose tenure the problem surfaced-said the situation is “alarming and incursions continue.” “Currently many villages in Demchok are empty as there is no security provided to the residents to save them from haunting shadow of the Dragon,” Dory said. “Recently I along with some administrative officials went to Demchok. But the entire community has left from some villages there.” He said the Demchok residents are now living in Koyul area of Ladakh. “During my interaction with the residents there, I was told that Chinese army harasses them regularly and nobody is providing them security,” Dory said. “The worried residents are feeling insecure. They said nobody is securing them from Chinese soldiers and that is why they have fled from the villages.” Dory said the residents of Demchok informed him that they complained to army and ITBP posts about the Chinese incursions but “they turned a blind eye towards the grave issue.” “I also came to know about a hydrotherapy centre there has been barred for the Demchok residents,” Dory said. “The hydrotherapy centre is now used by Chinese soldiers. They take a bath there and leave. They do not allow the residents to use it.” Dory alleged the ITBP is not doing anything to stop the problem. “The Chinese solders barge into the Indian territory and issue orders. Our army instead of taking action against the PLA restricts us to our areas.” Describing the situation as worrisome, Dory said the residents of Demchok and surrounding areas are presently stopped by Chinese soldiers from going to winter grazing areas. “There are winter pastures at Skakjung area in Demchok,” he said. “The residents visit those fields along with their cattle during winter season when everything gets frozen. This year and from the past many years, Chinese solders are harassing the shepherds and don’t allow them to visit there.” Apart from the incursion in September-October when two motorcycle borne PLA soldiers stopped workers from constructing a shed in Demchok, Dory said it has become a routine exercise for Chinese soldiers for the past several years “Demchok is vast expanse of land with many places uninhabited. The Chinese incursions were only reported from areas which are inhabited,” he said. “There have been reports of incursion from Pangong lake, But they are minimal than Damchok area.” When contacted the present CEC LAHDC, Rigzin Spalbar, said a delegation from the Demchok area complained to him that they would leave the area if developmental works were not undertaken. “The area is under-developed and people are angry with it,” Spalbar said. “We are in the process of carrying out the work. Before undertaking any projects we have to get clearance from Defence Ministry which is pending,” Spalbar said. He said he is not apprised fully about the current situation prevailing in the Demchok area.