Indian government on Thursday officially implemented its decision to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories as Girish Chandra Murmu took oath as the first Lt. Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and Mathur as new Lt. Governor of Ladakh. The Home Ministry said in a statement: “Chief Justice of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, Justice Gita Mittal administered oath of office to R.K. Mathur as the new Lt. Governor of the Union Territory of Ladakh today.”
“Border areas have a lot of development activities to be implemented. Already government of India is implementing several programs in the region, priorities for Ladakh will be set in the new regime in consultation with the public and Hill Councils,” the ministry statement quoted Mathur as saying. His experience in the backward areas and border areas will be useful for carrying out his works, the newly appointed Ladakh’s Lt. Governor added.
Media reports said that Girish Chandra Murmu also took oath of office as the first Lt. Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. The right-wing government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi had abrogated a constitutional provision giving special status to the disputed Jammu and Kashmir inviting criticism from both within and outside the country and the tension in the border region reached unprecedented level. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the decision to repeal Article 370 of the Indian constitution and end the special provision given to Jammu and Kashmir.
“With the blessings of Sardar Saheb, the country has taken a very big decision to defeat these forces a few weeks ago. Article 370 gave nothing except separatism and terrorism to Jammu and Kashmir,” the prime minister was quoted as saying on the National Unity Day. “For decades, this article 370 had created a temporary wall among us Indians. Our brothers and sisters who were on the other side of this temporary wall, they also lived in confusion. The wall which was increasing separatism and terrorism in Kashmir, now that wall has been demolished,” a statement from Modi’s office added.
“In the last three decades more than 40,000 people lost lives due to terrorist activities, several mothers lost their children, sisters lost their brothers and kids their parents…I am happy that this decision of ours, would now lead Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh towards a bright future and on the path of progress,” he said. New Delhi has decided to implement the decision to bifurcate the border state of Jammu and Kashmir into Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh on the 144 birth anniversery of Sardar Patel who was instrumental in the merger of over 560 princely states into the union of India after its independence in 1947. Today, October 31, is also celebrated as National Unity Day.
Prime Minister Modi said: “Once Sardar Patel commented that if the issue of Jammu & Kashmir were left to me, it would not have taken this long to resolve it. I dedicate the decision of abrogation of Article 3790 to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary.” Indian authorities had imposed curfew-like restrictions, restricted communications and internet across the state and detained or kept under house arrest political leaders following the repeal of Articla 370 raising global concern. Both Pakistan and China condemned the unilateral Indian moves in the disputed state and underlined during a recent visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to China the importance of Kashmir issue as a continuous historical dispute.
They insisted that the Kashmir issue should be properly and peacefully resolved on the basis of concerned UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. The border regions of India and Pakistan have seen increased tension following New Delhi’s decision to scrap special status to the disputed Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state. Pakistan had responded to the Indian move by downgrading the diplomatic relations and suspending the trade.