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Ladakh LG Mathur shifted in reshuffle of Governors 

Ladakh LG RK Mathur has been removed following unrest in the UT (Photo: Twitter)

Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory of Ladakh, Radha Krishna Mathur, has been shifted and replaced by Governor of Arunachal Pradesh Brigadier (retd) B.D. Mishra, in a reshuffle of Governors by President Droupadi Murmu.

Mathur, who served as the Union Defence Secretary, as also Chief Information Commissioner after his retirement, was appointed LG for Ladakh on 25 October, 2019, ahead of the operationalization of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as two separate Union Territories (UTs).

The two new UTs were created out of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir through the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Act which was passed in the Parliament on 5-6 August, 2019, and took effect on 31 October 2019. Retired IAS officers Girish Chandra Murmu and Radha Krishna Mathur were appointed as LGs respectively for J&K and Ladakh.

Following Murmu’s appointment as Comptroller and Auditor General of India, politician and former Union Minister Manoj Kumar Sinha was appointed as the second LG in J&K on 7 August, 2020.

Eighty-three-year old BD Mishra, who participated in the China-India war in 1962 and India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971, has served the Indian Army from 1961 to 1995. He was the Commander of the National Security Guard Counter Hijack Task Force that assaulted the hijacked aircraft of the Indian Airlines and successfully executed the hostage rescue operation at Raja Sansi Airfield, Amritsar, on 24 April 1993. All 124 passengers and crew members were rescued unharmed.

Officials asserted that Mathur’s replacement was part of the reshuffle of Governors in the border States of North-East. Lt General Kaiwalya has replaced Mishra as Governor of Arunachal Pradesh. Governor of Bihar, Phagu Chauhan, has replaced Mathur as Governor of Meghalaya. Lakshman Prasad Acharya has been appointed as new Governor of Sikkim.

Gulab Chand Kataria has been appointed as Governor of Assam and Sushri Anusuiya, currently Governor of Chhattisgarh, has taken over as Governor of Manipur in place of La Ganesan, who has been appointed as Governor of Nagaland.

In the same reshuffle, Abdul Nazeer, former judge of the Supreme Court of India has been appointed as Governor of Andhra Pradesh. Ramesh Bias, Governor of Jharkhand has been appointed as Governor of Maharashtra. Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, is the new Governor of Bihar.

Shiv Pratap Shukla has been appointed as the new Governor of Himachal Pradesh. Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Biswa Bhusan Harichandran is the new Governor of Chhattisgarh. CP Radhakrishnan has been appointed as the new Governor of Jharkhand.

Once he assumes charge as LG, Brigadier (retd) B.D. Mishra will have to address a a campaign by  the leaders of the Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) demanding “Statehood with Sixth Schedule status”, job opportunities and creation of two Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil districts. They have called for a dharna at Jantar Mantar on 15 February. Education reformist Sonam Wangchuk, who staged a demonstration lately in Leh in support of the LAB demands, has announced his participation at the dharna in New Delhi.

However, the agitation was going on for more than two years with Leh and Kargil representatives keeping aside their political rivalry and joining hands for the demands by observing hartals, holding protests in Ladakh as well as in Jammu which makes for a second home for many of the Ladakhis.

While the UT of Jammu and Kashmir was granted Legislature, Ladakh was denied an Assembly for the small size of its population and comprising just two districts and four Assembly segments in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs, nevertheless, held a few rounds of talks with the striking bodies in New Delhi as well as in Leh but the dialogue did not continue after August 2021. On 3 January this year, the MHA set up a High Powered Committee headed by Union Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai, for talks including nine representatives of LAB and KDA. However the Ladakh leadership rejected the panel for the reason that it did not specifically mention its agenda.

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