With effect from 31st October 2019, India has 28 states and 9 Union Territories as Jammu and Kashmir stands bifurcated in two Union Territories starting tonight. As per the prior decisions of the parliamentary forces, the state of Jammu & Kashmir is now divided into 2 UTs, Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
This comes 3 months after the state of Jammu & Kashmir was jolted with the news of abrogation of Article 370. The Article gave a special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir, which got abolished after the announcement was made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the parliament on 5th August 2019.
Three months, more precisely 86 days after Jammu and Kashmir were served a jolt in the form of the abrogation of Article 370, The strife-torn state ceased to exist as a special state on Wednesday midnight and got bifurcated into two to gain the status of a Union territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir. As a result, the nation now has two additional union territory and 1 lesser states. This is happening for the first time in India that a state is being converted into two Union Territories.
On Thursday morning, GC Murmu and RK Mathur took oaths to hold the position of Lieutenant Governors of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh respectively. The swearing-in ceremony of the two Lieutenant Governors was first held in Leh where Mathur administered the oath followed by that of Murmu in Srinagar. Both Murmu and Mathur were sworn-in by & in the presence of Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Gita Mittal.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, enforces that the appointed day for the two UTs to come into existence is October 31st 2019 and they shall come into existence from the midnight (Wednesday-Thursday).
Thus, with effect from Thursday only, the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the Ranbir Penal Code will cease to exist in the region. This is coming when the nation is celebrating ‘National Unity Day’ or ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’ to mark the 144th birth anniversary of the country’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel also known as the ‘Iron Man of India’. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is the person behind the merger of more than 560 princely states into the ‘Union of India’ post-independence from British Rule.
As further stated by the act, the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir will be a UT with legislature like that of Puducherry, while Ladakh will be a Union Territory without its legislature, like Chandigarh. Further, the two territories will be headed by two separate lieutenant governors (LG)
Since Jammu & Kashmir is now a Union Territory, this means that central government of India will be in the direct control of the police and the law and order in Jammu and Kashmir from Thursday when it becomes a UT. However, the land-related matters and laws will continue to be governed by the elected government there.
On the other hand, the Union Territory of Ladakh will be under the direct control of the central government wholly and it will administer & will be responsible for all the matters of the region through the LG. Apart from this, Senior IAS officer Umang Narula has been appointed as advisor to Ladakh’s Lt Governor and S S Khandare has been appointed as the police head of the UT.
The news of the states converting into a union territory is very well taken by the citizens of the country. This is how twitter reacted to it: