J&K LG’s meetings in Delhi trigger speculations in Kashmir

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J&K LG’s meetings in Delhi trigger speculations in Kashmir
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The J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s meetings with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Home Secretary AK Bhalla in Delhi triggered speculations and rumors about possible administrative and political changes in the Union Territory.

However, a senior official in the administration informed that the meetings with Shah and others were a routine exercise. The LG met Shah and Bhalla to discuss the ground situation in the UT and other regular administrative work. The LG is returning to J&K on Monday morning.

Last week, as soon as Sinha and some other senior officials left the summer capital of Srinagar for Delhi, rumors mills started churning theories regarding the intent behind the visit and meetings in New Delhi. Some locals even reminisced about the events preceding August 5, 2019 colligating these meetings with increased movement of troops in Kashmir and some parts of Jammu division.

A senior National Conference leader Tanvir Sadiq put out a sarcastic tweet asking whether the politicians need to be ready for another term in detention like in 2019. “While rumors are flying thick and fast – should we be ready for the second semester? MLA’s hostel 2.0?” he said.

The social media accounts and some Whats App groups—which have top administrative and police officials as its members—remained abuzz with theories and prophecies hinting that ‘something big’ is in the offing for J&K. A few rumors hinted at granting of statehood to Jammu division, some others said that a third administrative division would be carved between the two divisions of Kashmir and Jammu, while as others said that troops are simply sent to LoC and LAC in Ladakh as reinforcement.ipj

A young congress leader from Jammu division, Salman Nizami, also put out a tweet reacting to the rumor of granting of statehood to Jammu.

“The GoI must restore statehood of the entire J&K and hold elections at an earliest after Covid situation is better. Any attempt to stoke polarization by granting statehood to one province & not another is not going to work!” said Nizami.

However, another senior official in New Delhi said that the Amarnath Yatra—for which the registration was suspended earlier this year in wake of the second wave of Covid19 pandemic—was discussed as the final decision regarding the cancellation or conduct of Yatra this year is yet to be made public. The Yatra is scheduled from the last week of June till August 22 and the administration had made arrangements for around six lakh devotees. The issue of security of the Block Development Council, District Development Council and Panchayat members after the recent killing of BJP councilor Rakesh Pandita in Tral of southern Kashmir was also discussed in the meeting. The progress on the delimitation commission was reviewed as well.

Interestingly, among other senior officials both outgoing chief secretary of J&K, BVR Subrahmanyam and current chief secretary of the J&K A K Mehta were part of the meetings. Subrahmanyam’s transfer had also triggered speculations of cracks within the administrative setup of the J&K. “He was staying just to clean up his office and prepare for the next assignment. There was no tussle of power or bureaucratic hegemony,” a senior official clarified.

The LG, sources said, also discussed possible replacement of Director General of J&K police Dilbagh Singh– who was also part of the meeting with Shah. The names of probable contenders for the post were mentioned in one of the meetings as well.



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