Low-key inaugural planned for UTs of J&K and Ladakhhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/jk-jammu-kashmir-reorganisation-ladakh-bifurcation-article-370-special-status-low-key-inaugural-planned-for-union-territories-6093578/

Low-key inaugural planned for UTs of J&K and Ladakh

Official sources said the Centre has asked the state administration to hold twin functions — administering the oath of office to the two Lieutenant Governors for Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir — separately, at Leh and Srinagar, respectively.

Low-key inaugural planned for UTs of J&K and Ladakh
In Srinagar, on Tuesday. (Express Photo: Shuaib Masoodi)

The Centre has decided against holding extravagant functions on October 31 when the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir takes effect, in line with the August 5 announcement ending the special status of the state under Article 370 and its bifurcation into two new Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

The administration has ordered government officers and employees to continue holding their posts in the respective Union Territories. The order, issued by J-K’s General Administration Department, became necessary because the government is still to take a call on the distribution of its human resource to the two UTs.

The government has also issued an order asking officers to put up pictures of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who wanted J&K’s complete integration with India, in all key offices of the two UTs.

Official sources said the Centre has asked the state administration to hold the twin functions — administering the oath of office to the two Lieutenant Governors for Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir — separately, at Leh and Srinagar, respectively. Further, these would be low key affairs without much “pomp and show”.

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While no official invitation has been extended to the media so far, sources in the state administration said only a few selected news outlets including state broadcaster Doordarshan may be called.

The first function will be organised at Leh where Radha Krishna Mathur will take oath as the first L-G of Ladakh. This will be followed by a similar function at Raj Bhawan in Srinagar where Girish Chandra Murmu will take oath as the L-G of Jammu and Kashmir. The oath will be administered by Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal.

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The state administration is not clear whether the Chief Justice will be asked to take the oath again as the State is being converted into a UT. J&K Law Secretary Achal Sethi told The Indian Express: “This order (of oath of Chief Justice) is required to be issued by the central government. This is not the domain of the state government. There is no such order as of now.”

Low-key inaugural planned for UTs of J&K and Ladakh
Class 10th board exams began in Kashmir on Tuesday. (Express Photo: Shuaib Masoodi)

The reorganisation Act says the Jammu and Kashmir High Court will continue to remain common for both UTs.

A press statement issued by the State Directorate of Information and Public Relations referred to Section 91 of the reorganisation Act and said, “.every person, who immediately before the appointed day i.e. 31st of October, 2019, is holding or discharging the duties of any post or office in connection with the affairs of the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir in any area which on that day falls within one of the successor Union territory shall continue to hold the same post or office in that Successor Union territory, and shall be deemed, on and from that day, to have been duly appointed to the post or office by the Government of, or other appropriate authority in, that successor Union territory.”

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The government has already completed the process of seeking consent and preference from its employees about their posting in the two UTs. The employees have submitted a two-page consent form giving their posting preference in any of the two UTs.

The government is yet to appoint separate Chief Secretaries for the two UTs and an Inspector General of Police (IGP) for Ladakh.