By Achinta Borah :
HISTORY will be created on Thursday when Jammu and Kashmir, which has been part of the Union of India since 1947, will cease to be a state and will be bifurcated into two Union Territories. IAS officers Girish Chandra Murmu and R K Mathur, who have been appointed the new Lieutenant Governors (LG) for the Union territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh respectively, will be sworn-in at separate functions to be held in Srinagar and Leh on Thursday. Both Murmu and Mathur will be sworn in by Chief Justice of J&K High Court Gita Mittal. According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the appointed day for the two UTs is October 31 and these will come into existence in the midnight ( Wednesday - Thursday), nearly three months after the announcement in Rajya Sabha.
This is for the first time that a State is converted into two UTs even though there are numerous example of a UT becoming a full state or a state bifurcating into two states. The total number of States in the country will be now 28 while the total UTs will go up to seven. The Narendra Modi Government’s decision and subsequent approval of Parliament to abrogate the Special Status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and its bifurcation into two UTs was taken to redraw the map and future of a region at the centre of a protracted militancy movement.
The electoral promise of the BJP to end the Special Status of Jammu and Kashmir came less than 90 days after the second term of Modi Government assumed power in May end. The August 5 decision was taken 72 years after the then ruler of the princely State, Maharaja Hari Singh, executed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947, making it part of the Union of India. The two UTs will come into existence on the day of the birth anniversary country’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who is credited for merger of over 560 States into the Union of India October 31 is observedas the National Unity Day and both Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday will attend separatefunctions--inKevadia (Gujarat) and New Delhi respectively.
According to the Act, the UT of Jammu and Kashmir will havealegislature like Puducherry while Ladakh will bea UT withoutlegislature like Chandigarh and both the UTs will be headed by two separate Lieutenant Governors (LG). The Centre will be in direct controlofthepoliceandthelaw and order in Jammu and Kashmir from Thursday when itbecomes a UT,while the land will be under the elected Government there. The UT of Ladakh will be under the direct control of the CentralGovernmentwhichwill administer the high altitude region through the LG. Whilemoving the resolution in the Rajya Sabha that Article 370 -- which allowed Jammu and Kashmir to have its own Constitution and prohibited outsiders from buying land and property inthe State, Shahhad said these provisions will no longer be applicable and the Central Government will restore its state hoo dat “appropriate time” and after “normalcy” returns.
“The Government will not allow the situation to turn into another battle torn Kosovo... It was heaven on earth and will remainso,”Shahhadsaid,referring to the decades-old militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. Soon after the abrogation of the Article 370, several hundred political leaders and separatists were put under detention by the Jammu and Kashmir administration while restrictions were also imposed on movement of people, vehicles, telephone, mobile phones and Internet. While most of the restrictions were removed since then, curb on internet is still continuingandsituationinthe Kashmir Valley is yet to be termed as complete normal. Among those put under detentionincludethreeformer chief ministers -- Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. MURMU ARRIVES IN SRINAGAR TO TAKE OVER AS FIRSTLG OF J&K: SENIORIAS officer Girish Chandra Murmu, who will be the first Lt Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, arrived here on Wednesdaytotakechargeofthe new responsibility on Thursday. He will be administered the oath of office by J&K High Court’s Chief Justice Gita Mittal inSrinagar.The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature will come into being on Thursday as perthe Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 which got President’s assent on August 9.