Ladakh Buddhist Association
This article needs to be updated.(October 2010)
Ladakh Nangpay Tsoksdus
|Founders||Kalon Tsewang Rigzin, Munshi Sonam Tsewang, Kalon Bankapa Murup Gyaltsan|
|Type||Socio-Religious / Charitable|
|Purpose||Maintaining peace and stability in ladakh region|
|Vice president Rinchen Namgail|
|Subsidiaries||LBA Youth Wing|
|Affiliations||Buddhist Society of India|
Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) is an organization in Ladakh, India concerned with interests of Buddhists in Ladakh. It was founded in 1933 by King Jigmet Dadul Namgyal, Kalon Tsewang Rigzin, Kalon Bankapa Morup Gyaltsan and Munshi Sonam Tsewang.
It has the aim of looking after the Buddhist interests, bringing social reforms in Ladakhi society and to preserve its art, culture, language and tradition.
The LBA consists of the Parent Department, the Youth Wing and the Women's Wing and units located in villages that are meant to address local issues. LBA has its unit branch offices in the outreach representing a cluster of villages. These units facilitate and work closely with the community heads and their own village representatives as well as their women and youth groups.
The association was formed in 1934.
In 1989, there were violent riots between Buddhists and Muslims, provoking the Ladakh Buddhist Association to call for a social and economic boycott of Muslims, which was lifted in 1992. In early 2000, representatives of the LBA claimed that many Buddhist women were taken forcibly from their home villages and forced to convert to Islam, and accused the state government in Jammu and Kashmir of allowing this to happen.
From 1989 to 1992, the LBA initiated a boycott against Ladakh's Muslim as a way to express their grievances toward the Kashmiri government despite the fact that Ladakh's Muslims differed from the Muslims Kashmiris and even each other. Buddhists were restricted from having any social or economic contacts with Muslims in pain of being threatened by violence or fined. The boycott undermined the positive relationships bewteen the two communities. However, due to strong links between the Muslim and Buddhist community, many Buddhists ignored the orders and continued to interact with Muslims.
Observers have noted that the LBA has been allying with the RSS, BJP, and other right-wing Hindu nationalist groups with a pronounced anti-Christian and Islamophobic bias since the 1990s. Martijn van Beek has considered the rhetoric of the LBA and its leader to have grown more communal and "saffronised" in part because of the role Ladakh plays in the Kashmir conflict and the LBA's advocacy for the autonomy of Ladakh. Beek summarized the situation as such: "Thus, while the LBA and some Buddhist political leaders may be willing to share a platform with the sangh parivar to promote their agenda for Union Territory status, Hindutva as such would not appear to have much appeal in a region like Ladakh. Yet despite this limited appeal of Hindutva, the saffronization of education, of the media, and of public life in general are likely to strengthen even further the perceived validity and necessity of communal idioms".
The LBA has deployed anti-Muslim rhetoric and conspiracy theories. The LBA has attacked Kargili Muslims as untrustworthy and extremist for political leverage. The LBA promoted the "Turtok incident" where 24 young Kargili Muslims were arrested for harboring weapons in their village near the Line of Control in 1999 as an example to not trust the Muslims. The Kargili Muslims were cleared of all charges in 2001 and it was proven that local police fabricated the evidence. The LBA and other local media didn't give this aftermath any coverage. The LBA has also claimed a Muslim takeover of Ladakh where the Buddhists will be outnumbered by the Muslims in the near future. The LBA has claimed that Ladakhi Muslims are luring Buddhist women to marry them and forcing them to convert to Islam in which the case of Stanzin Saldon marrying a Muslim man is set as an example. Saldon herself responded to these claims by stating "The statement of LBA is false and concocted, an effort to suppress and threaten the rights of individual." Local politicians and Muslim organizations also expressed concern that the LBA was trying to disturb communal harmony.
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