Ladakh nomads stand their ground against PLA as Army has their back

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NEW DELHI: The Army’s assertive stand in Ladakh since the fatal border clash in 2020 has emboldened the nomadic tribes to reclaim their traditional winter grazing grounds, leading to incidents of arguments with Chinese troops.
Unlike in the past, graziers are venturing deep into their traditional grazing areas and standing their ground when People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops enter areas inside India’s claim line to push them back. Earlier, it was often the Army that curtailed graziers’ movement to avoid confrontation with PLA.
According to a video of such an incident that surfaced on social media, undaunted graziers are seen resisting PLA soldiers who came at them accompanied by light armoured carriers. The incident is reported to have taken place on January 2, though TOI could not independently verify it.
The incident has been reported from Kagjung, an open area stretching into the Chinese territory across the Indus on the left as one travels from Dungti towards Demchok in eastern Ladakh. Geo-mapping enthusiasts have claimed that the Chinese entered one km into India’s claim line.
“No doubt our forces are always with civilians, resolving the grazing issues with PLA. It’s all because of their support that our nomads could bravely face PLA,” Councillor Konchok Stanzin, who represents the Chushul constituency in the Ladakh Hill Council, said on microblogging site X, confirming the incident.
Such incidents have been reported almost every winter since the Galwan clashes. Every time, it was the graziers and villagers who pushed back such interference by uniformed troops, or as locals claim, in civvies. Last year, the Army stepped in when graziers were accosted by PLA in the CNN junction area around Demchok. A video of another such incursion a couple of years back showed the villagers and civil authorities rushing towards the intruders with sticks and pelting stones
These incidents are frequent in Kagjung and Dumchele areas, especially because of the difference in perception and ‘illogical’ claim lines drawn through the middle of grazing lands in the area. These areas are important as they are the only source of fodder during winter when livestock give birth.

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