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The Ladakh Confluence: No Second Coming?

It is unlikely that the second edition of the Ladakh Confluence, which was scheduled for July 15-18, will be held this year, as a result of opposition from various local bodies in Ladakh due to the “drugs, western culture and rocking music” that are associated with the festival. The following are excerpts from a letter from the organisers, originally published on the official Ladakh Confluence web site

“It is with deep, deep sadness with which we inform you that the Ladakh Confluence ’10 will not be held according to schedule from the 15th–18th July, 2010.

“The Confluence was envisioned as a festival of music, culture, peace and love. From its very inception, the Confluence has had the active support of the J&K Tourism Ministry and the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council. We have also had the support of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), WWF, Local NGOs, hotel owners and tour operators. With our focus on sustainable tourism and culture, we are sure that the Confluence is good for everyone involved.

“Unfortunately, over the past couple of weeks, we have run into opposition from two local bodies — the All Ladakh Tour Operators Association (ALTOA) and the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), led by the same individual. Allegations have been levelled against the Confluence. These bodies say they oppose the Confluence because of ‘Drugs, western culture and rocking music’. Our efforts to clarify have been ignored, as have the facts that the confluence is planned to be drug free, has declined generous sponsorships from alcohol companies, highlights and showcases Ladakhi culture and music, and that the music at the Confluence is folk and percussion from India and the world.

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“Worse, over the past few days, threats of physical violence have been made against the organisers and their families, as well as against our partners. In fact, our partner and extremely respected organisation, WWF’s Leh office, was visited and threatened by members of these organisations. Ironic, for these very bodies claim to defend and uphold peaceful Buddhist and Ladakhi culture.”

Read the entire announcement at this location.

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