J&K, Ladakh to become Union Territories on Thursday

Hyderabad: Security is tight in Kashmir, as the countdown for the swearing-in ceremony of two Lieutenant Governors started for Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh on Thursday. The back-to-back oath-taking ceremonies will be held in Leh and Srinagar. Gita Mittal, Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High court will first administer the oath to Radha Krishna Mathur in Leh and then to Girish Chandra Murmu in Srinagar, Hyderabad.

59-year-old Murmu is a 1985 batch IAS officer who had served as a Secretary in the Gujarat government is said to be close to Prime Minister Modi. The oath-taking will be a low-key affair. No political leaders will be a part of the ceremony. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be in Gujarat at the Statue of Unity, Home Minister Amit Shah would be flagging off a ‘run for unity’ event in Delhi.

73-year-old Satya Pal Malik, the outgoing Jammu and Kashmir Governor is transferred to Goa for the rest of his tenure. While Malik’s advisors are set to go with him, new advisors will be appointed for the new Lt Governors.

After the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, there has been shut down in Kashmir. Shops and business establishments remain closed during the day and opened briefly in the mornings and evenings. The internet and pre-paid phone service continue to be suspended in Kashmir. SMS is also barred.

Violence in the valley, however, does not seem to diminish. Incidents of violence against non-Kashmiri migrant workers and drivers have increased in the last two months. The big test for the new administrative arrangement will be to inculcate a semblance of normalcy in Kashmir and lift restrictions. How soon will that happen is the big question in jammu and kashmir.

Zaffar Iqbal

Zaffar Iqbal is a senior journalist from Jammu and Kashmir. In a career spanning 20 years, he has reported on a wide range of issues ranging from conflict, armed encounters, environment, crime, politics culture and human rights. Zafar has worked as bureau chief (J&K)/ North India for NDTV- (New Delhi Television and Tiranga TV)- leading teams of journalists for producing quality TV news and online video content.

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