With only a day left in the dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh on October 31, preparations are underway for the swearing-in of the two newly-appointed Lieutenant Governors in Srinagar and Leh.
Gita Mittal, Chief Justice of the J&K High Court, will first administer the oath to Radha Krishna Mathur as the first lieutenant governor of Ladakh Union Territory at 7:15 am. Later, she will fly to Srinagar to administer the oath to Girish Chandra Murmu, who will be Jammu and Kashmir’s first lieutenant governor at 12:45 pm.
Mittal will leave for Leh on Wednesday itself. Sources said that a plane will be kept ready so that she can administer an oath on time at both locations, almost back to back. The ceremony will, however, be a somber affair sans any political leader. Sources said that no leader from state or Centre is expected to be part of the ceremony.
The oath-taking ceremony will be held in a function in Srinagar, the summer capital, despite the fact that by that time the swearing-in ceremony, the Jammu and Kashmir darbar would be moved to winter capital Jammu. Sources told India Today TV that the decision to administer the oath in Srinagar is ‘symbolic’ and is to highlight Kashmir’s integration with the rest of India.
Interestingly, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have not visited Kashmir Valley since the revocation of Article 370.
On October 31, PM Modi would be at the Statue of Unity at Kevadia in Gujarat to mark the occasion and Home Minister Amit Shah would flag off a Run for Unity in Delhi on the same day.
Sources said Run for Unity is being planned in Leh, Srinagar and Jammu with Unity March being carried out in all three locations. Sources said that security will be extremely tight. While the venue in Srinagar is not fixed, a top officer said a unity march will be flagged off at the scenic Dal Lake. On previous occasions also Jammu and Kashmir Police and CAPF have carried out Run for Unity to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
At age 73, Satyapal Malik, the incumbent Governor of Jammu and Kashmir had barely completed a year in August 2018 but has been moved to Goa for the rest of the tenure. While GC Murmu is 59 is one of the youngest governors in the country. An expenditure secretary and a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he has no previous experience of Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources said that with the entry of Murmu, a 1985 batch IPS officer, the apple cart has been disturbed as all advisors in Jammu and Kashmir are senior to him. The youngest in the lot are BVR Subrahmanyam, IAS, 1986 batch officer and Dilbagh Singh, a 1987 batch officer.
With the current governor going, the old arrangement will go and a new set of advisors will make an entry.
Sources said that barring Farooq Khan, who is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, formerly the administrator of Lakshwadeep, the rest of the four advisors are set to go. Hence terms of K Vijay Kumar, Khursheed Ganai, K Sikandan and KK Sharma will come to an end. K Vijay Kumar’s name was incidentally doing the rounds for being the post of governor. Sources said this previous team is mentally prepared to go.
According to the J&K Re-organisation Act 2019 says, The Lt Governor will decide about the provisional strength, composition and allocation of officers once the two new UTs are formed and notified.
As Jammu and Kashmir is being bifurcated on Thursday, IAS, IPS and other central service officers of J-K cadre will continue to serve in the two succeeding Union Territories (UTs) while new recruits of these services will be allocated in the AGMUT cadre.
The act further says the state government employees will be able to seek option to serve in either of the two UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and this transfer will be determined by the Lt Governor.
The Act says the Central government shall have the power to review any of its orders issued under this section.
The UTs of J&K and Ladakh will come into existence as other newly carved out states have come up in the past. The most recent example is Telangana, the act was passed in March 2014 and the appointed day was June 2, 2014. It will not be a grandiose affair, instead, it will be a low-key affair, despite being a historic day in the country.