Amid shutdown and anger in the Valley, Girish Chandra Murmu and R K Mathur became the first Lieutenant Governors of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, respectively, as the state of J&K was officially bifurcated on Thursday.
The oath ceremony was a low-key affair with only top civil and security officials in attendance. While the media was kept at bay, most of the mainstream political leaders stayed away from the function at Raj Bhawan in Srinagar.
Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary was chosen as the day to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India as the country celebrates October 31 as the National Unity Day. While the government had earlier decided against celebrations, several events were held in Kashmir for the first time to commemorate the birth anniversary of Patel, who is seen as the force behind the integration of princely states with the Union of India. Police and civil administration installed 12×18-inch portraits of Patel across government offices, organised the Run for Unity and took pledges to uphold the unity and integrity of the country.
Justice Gita Mittal, the Chief Justice of the High Court for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, administered the oath of office and secrecy to Lt Governors Mathur and Murmu at low-key events in Leh and then in Srinagar, respectively.
J&K’s Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam read the Warrant of Appointment at the function in Srinagar attended by former advisors, top civil and security officials and high court judges. While most mainstream political leaders and workers are under detention, those who are out gave the event a miss. The only exceptions were BJP leaders and PDP Rajya Sabha member Nazir Ahmad Laway, who attended the event.
News agencies ANI and PTI, besides Doordarshan, were the only ones allowed to cover the event.