Hyderabad: With Jammu and Kashmir now a Union Territory, the ministry of home affairs under Amit Shah is now on the task of zeroing in the first Lieutenant Governor. There are indications that the Centre will either post a retired IPS officer or a retired Army official so as to have a firm grip over the UT.
If the discussions over the appointment are any indication, then the Centre intends to have someone who is experienced in dealing with law and order issues and counter insurgency.
Well-placed sources told Deccan Chronicle over telephone from New Delhi that the names of a few retired IPS and Army officers is on the table and the Centre will make the announcement shortly. If all goes as per plan, then the Centre wants to have the Lt Governor in place before August 15, Independence Day.
“Though at the moment, the entire focus is on the law and order situation in the Kashmir Valley, this matter of who is to be posted as the first Lt Governor of J&K has been discussed and there are quite a few names which are under consideration. It could either by a retired IPS or Army officer. If they decide to go for an IAS officer, it will be a surprise considering the problems J&K is presently faced with,” the sources said.
Asked whether the Centre could even consider a retired IAS officer, sources said there is less likelihood of that since the Centre will need someone who has the experience of dealing firmly with law and order issues, terrorism etc.
“Law and order is a top priority and someone experienced in these issues will be considered. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will have a major say in this,” sources said. Mr Doval is a retired IPS officer who worked as Director, Intelligence Bureau.
Even otherwise, J&K has had quite a few retired IPS and Army officials as Governors, who played a key role each time there was Governor’s rule in the state.
In July 1989, the Centre had appointed General KV Krishna Rao, a forrmer Army chief, as the Governor of J&K. In May 1990, Girish Chandra Saxena was made the Governor. He was a former IPS officer who had retired as director of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s external Intelligence agency. Both Gen. Krishna Rao and Mr Saxena had two stints as Governors.
In June 2003, Lt General S.K. Sinha was made Governor. He had served as Vice Chief of Army staff. In June 2008, N.N. Vohra was appointed Governor and he had a fairly long stint. He was a 1959 batch IAS officer of Punjab cadre who had served as principal secretary to the Prime Minister and as defence and home secretary. He was the first civilian Governor of J&K after Jagmohan, who was a former civil servant.
“Ensuring peace in the Valley is going to be a major challenge for whoever is going to be appointed as Lt Governor. The coming months are not going to be easy,” the sources said....