Chinese troops enter Ladakh village, stop locals from celebrating Dalai Lama birthday

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Chinese soldiers and civilians crossed into “Indian” territory and protested the Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations in the Demchok region of Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control, reported Outlook.

As per the report, on 6 July, Chinese troops carrying banners marched along the LAC in Dalocamgo, Demchok, to protest celebrations. Locals were yelled upon by PLA forces to cease celebrating. The residents, on the other hand, were undeterred and proceeded to celebrate throughout the day.

“The locals told me that PLA troops came along the LAC early morning in two to three vehicles. They were carrying banners too on which it was written that celebrations should be stopped. PLA troops also shouted at the locals and asked them to move back from LAC. However, due to the strong presence of the Indian army, locals stayed there and celebrations were completed, ” Ishey Spalzang, Councilor Nyoma told Outlook over the phone.

Dolacamgo is part of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh’s Nyoma constituency. Demochok is also part of the Nyoma constituency, where India and China have yet to achieve an agreement on disengagement in order to return to the pre-April 2020 status.

Spalzang told Outlook: “In the past, too, China had objected to these celebrations. The Councilor said the apparent reasons are China doesn’t want any Indian activity along the LAC and it deliberately chose the day as a large gathering was expected.”

“However, unlike in the past, this year the celebrations were muted affair due to COVID19 restrictions. Very few locals came along the river Indus for celebrations. The PLA troops had been consistently dissuading locals from carrying out any activity along the border, but it has deeply hurt the religious sentiments of locals,” said Spalzang.

As per the report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said publicly for the first time on 6 July that he had talked to Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on his birthday. The PM’s phone call to the Lama occurred at a time when China has yet to agree to restore the status quo along the Ladakh-Aladakh Corridor (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. In Beijing, Lama is referred to as a “splittist.” India has in the past been very careful and cautios in its engagement with him.

Quoting Konchok Stanzin, Councilor Chushul constituency Outlook reported that off late China had started objecting to these and it’s time the Indian government registers a strong protest with China. ” Celebrations were being held inside Indian territory. China has no business in objecting to it. His Holiness is revered not only by Buddhists but all. Even people along LAC in Chinese territory celebrate his HH’s birthday. It has hurt the religious sentiment,” said Konchok.

Locals claim, as per the report, that the region across the Indus in Dolacamgo was formerly “Indian territory,” according to local revenue records, before China “took over”. The Chinese had protested similar celebrations in the Demchok area around three years ago, and the locals had fought them even then. The Chinese had then asked the locals to move back some distance from the LAC for the celebrations, which was agreed by the locals, but celebrations had continued.

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