Srinagar: Locals in eastern Ladakh have urged the army to resume mobile communication in the frontier areas as soon as possible to allow some semblance of normalcy and permit grazing of livestock along the Line of Actual Control to establish the control of the Indian side in the region.

The snapping of mobile network in most of the villages a few days ago has fuelled rumours of a possible armed conflict and made locals anxious about their survival.

“The army has created a war-like situation even before an actual war. Nine mobile towers have been shut down, leaving a population of over 5,000 incommunicado,” Tashi Namgial, councillor of Tangtse border constituency, told ET.

The communication blackout has only amplified the fears of locals, who are not even able to communicate with patients, students and relatives stuck in other places due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Local villagers allege that the repeated incursions of the Chinese army in these frontier villages over the past few years were inadvertently encouraged by the Indian Army’s policy to disallow local nomads in their own traditional and ancestral grazing and cultivable lands within the Indian territory.

Legislators, councillors and sarpanches in these frontier villages of Ladakh have time and again written to the Union ministries of home and defence regarding constricting grazing areas due to Chinese incursions and the Indian Army’s unfavourable policy towards local nomads.

In 2015, a group of six representatives, including Gurmet Dorjay, present councillor from Korzok in eastern Ladakh, submitted a detailed memorandum to the then home minister Rajnath Singh seeking resolution of land dispute regarding 2.06 acres of cultivable land and grazing area issues with the Chinese army in Chabji area of Chumur.

In 2017, Namgial, along with other representatives of eastern Ladakh, wrote to the then defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman regarding the problem faced by the nomads and the army not allowing grazing within the Indian territory. They also submitted a memorandum on these issues to the Union minister in 2019 in Leh.

“What is happening in Galwan Valley and Finger 4 area today is more serious than regular incursions and is a result of our policies for past several year,” Dorjay told ET.

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