The region of Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) has come a long way in its history of territory and governance; from a divided kingdom to a Union Territory (UT) – a king, a Prime Minister, a Chief Minister to a Lieutenant Governor (LG).
This Friday, 31 October 2019, a new history began in the troubled history of J-K, a new phase – under a new administrator; Girish Chandra Murmu took the oath as the first LG of J-K. Mr. Murmu, an ex-bureaucrat of Gujarat Indian Administrative Service (IAS) cadre, is a close confidante of current premier of the country, Narendra Modi – an open representative of the centre.
Simultaneously, people observed a shutdown in the Valley. In a time when all the prominent political faces of the regional politics remain under detention, a centre’s man has been brought in – to which, J-K has gotten used to in a while.
On his first day, Mr. Murmu’s visited the Civil Secretariat. There, he asked all the secretaries to work with the utmost commitment for public welfare. However, people aren’t much on-the-toes mood and the first 48 hours of the newly constituted UT of J-K passed in parted restrictions – the authorities also disallowed the annual Khoje-Digar prayers, for the first time in recent history.
With all the major detentions still under place and no word around the next assembly elections – J-K has to, without a choice, get governed by Mr. Murmu. If he would be any new, remains to be seen.
From here on, all the moves by New Delhi should be towards winning the trust of a local citizen and not imposing any decision – which eventually ends up becoming inevitable. Disallowing the annual prayers, bringing in a delegate of European Union’s parliamentarian to propagate the idea of normalcy – when the local politicians remain under detentions and national opposition was sent back – doesn’t help situations on the ground, but mere short-term political gains.
With the mark of the new history for the region, Kashmir waits if there would be a new beginning as well – or the same old school.
The editorial appeared in the 4 – 10 November 2019 print edition of The Kashmir Walla.