SRINAGAR: Amid shutdown in the Valley, 1985-batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre Girish Chandra Murmu was on Thursday sworn in as the first Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir after formal bifurcation of J&K State last midnight. Significantly, the PDP Rajya Sabha MP and Jammu chambers president attended the oath-taking ceremony while the Kashmir Chamber president was not invited for the function.
Murmu was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Chief Justice of J&K High Court Gita Mittal at a function at Raj Bhavan. Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam read the Warrant of Appointment. Murmu, who was Union Expenditure Secretary and principal secretary to Narendra Modi during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat, is said to be a trusted aide of the PM and Home Minister Amit Shah.
After August 5 scrapping of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K by Centre, J&K state was formally bifurcated into two UTs – Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature) on Wednesday midnight.
Murmu’s oath-taking ceremony was attended by around 200 people, including Nirmal Kumar Singh, Speaker J&K Legislative Assembly; Advisors to former J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik - Vijay Kumar, KK Sharma, Khurshid Ganai, K Skandan, Farooq Khan - BJP MP Jugal Kishore, General Officer Commanding 15 Corps Lt. Gen KJS Dhillon. The judges of J&K High Court and top police, security and civil officials also attended the ceremony.
Surprisingly, PDP Rajya Sabha MP Nazir Ahmad Laway attended the function. “I and my party are against the scrapping of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K. However, there is nothing wrong in me attending the function,” Laway told this newspaper. He said another party MP Fayaz Ahmad Mir could not attend the function because he was in Bengaluru.
In yet another first, the authorities had not invited the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Valley’s leading traders’ body - to the oath-taking function. "We did not receive any invitation. Earlier, we used to be invited by government for all important and big functions," said KCCI president Sheikh Ashiq.
Jammu chambers president Rakesh Gupta too said that he received the invitation on Wednesday.