Buddhists in Ladakh renounce family planning

by Ishfaq-ul-Hassan, DNA India, November 4, 2007

Wary of rising Muslim population, Buddhist apex body in Ladakh urges community to produce more children

SRINAGAR, India -- Buddhist leaders say their population is declining due the family planning norms adopted by its community, while the Muslim population was showing an increase because of their refusal to adopt these initiatives owing to their religious directives.

A new dimension to the embroil has been added by the recent whip issued by Buddhist leaders urging their community members to renounce family planning programmes and produce as many children possible, in order to undo the demographic changes being effected in the area. 

Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), an apex body of the Buddhists, has also shot off a letter to the Jammu and Kashmir government asking it not to implement family planning programmes in the region. “The Ladakhi race has limited population in the country and there is apprehension of its extinction. Hence, you are requested not to apply small family norms in the district as a special case,” said  Dr Sonam Dawa, president of Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) in a letter written to J&K’s minister of health and medical education Mangat Ram Sharma.

Dr Dawa cautioned the government about the family planning camps in the area. “In the recent past, there have been certain cases of public resentment during the family welfare camps in the area. So you are requested to direct the department concerned not to hold family planning camps in the district,” he said.