NEWS KASHMIR LADAKH
NEW DELHI: At the stroke of midnight tonight, two Union Territories came into existence — namely Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh – formalizing the bifurcation and change of status of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state. “This happens at midnight on the intervening night of Wednesday-Thursday,” the Union Government had announced on Wednesday.
The day, October 31, also marks the birth anniversary of India’s first home minister and deputy prime minister who was known the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
IAS officers Girish Chandra Murmu and RK Mathur will take charge as Lt Governors of the two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh respectively, both of which will be directly administered from New Delhi by the Central Government. While Jammu and Kashmir as a UT will have an assembly, Ladakh will do without an assembly. The formal swearing in of the Lt. Governors will take place later in the day Thursday, the first in Srinagar, and the second at Leh, close to the Himalayas.
An announcement to this effect had been made in the Rajya Sabha, upper house of Parliament, by the central government three months ago, after the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill was passed by Parliament and it later turned into an Act with presidential assent.
It was on August 5 this year that the Modi government declared abrogation of Article 370, divesting Jammu and Kashmir of the statehood status it enjoyed since around India’s Independence. It also separated Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir province and made it too into another Union Territory.
The government imposed curfew and ban orders for several days, arrested political party leaders and other activists as also militant leaders and put them under house arrest, in precautionary steps to guard against violent protests. The internet and telephone links too had been suspended for a while. So far, the entire region remains peaceful.
While Pakistan took serious exception to the Indian government’s action in Jammu and Kashmir, it failed to win global support due to its well-publicised role of promoting terror in Kashmir, mainly to spite India, in the name of supporting the Kashmiri causes. IHN-NN
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