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Ladakh villagers lose access to traditional grazing land due to Chinese nibbling of territory

(TibetanReview.net, Sep24’21) – Chinese intrusion from across occupied Tibet has resulted in a large tract of a traditional, previously non-disputed, grazing area becoming no longer accessible to villagers in Gogra area of eastern Ladakh region of India, reported thehindu.com Sep 24, citing Mr Konchok Stanzin, a councillor from the Chushul area.

Gogra is one of the several friction points in eastern Ladakh where Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a stand-off since Apr-May 2020, the report noted.

Following talks between the two sides, troops have disengaged from the north and south banks of the Pangong Tso and Gogra sector, creating “no zones” in areas along the undemarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC) that was regularly patrolled by Indian troops before Apr 2020.

Aa a result of this agreement, the Indian Army has stopped the villagers’ access to the Kiu La pass that was till a few years ago frequented by the villagers of Lukung, Phobrang and Yourgo for cattle-grazing.

Stanzin has said, “A group of villagers marched to the Kiu La pass a few days ago but they were denied access by the Army. There used to be a bunker on the upper reaches, but it is no longer there. We fear that the Chinese are nibbling away at our territory. This was never a disputed area.”

The report noted that since Apr 2020, Chinese troops had blocked Indian troops from reaching at least 10 patrolling points (PPs) in eastern Ladakh — running from Depsang plains in the north to the Pangong Tso lake in the south. In all, there are more than 65 PPs from the base of the Karakoram to Chumar.

Stanzin has also said China had constructed permanent structures and roads close to the LAC while the Indian side could only boast of a few roads, and still no internet access.

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