Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu, appointed to the post last year, resigned on Wednesday, according to All India Radio. Indian Administrative Service officer Manoj Sinha will succeed him. “I will be going to Kashmir today, it’s a big responsibility,” Sinha told News18.
Murmu was appointed on October 31 last year after the erstwhile state was bifurcated into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, following the abrogation of its special status. Incidentally, Murmu resigned on the first anniversary of the revocation of special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said Sinha’s appointment was unexpected. “Last night there were one or two names that people were circulating as a done deal & this name wasn’t among them,” he tweeted. “You can always trust this government to pull an unexpected name out of the hat contrary to anything the “sources” had planted earlier.”
There is speculation that Murmu could be next in line to take post of Comptroller and Auditor General of India after Rajiv Mehrishi whose tenure will end on August 8, the Hindustan Times reported.
Last week, Murmu had found himself in the eye of a storm when he said that President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir cannot carry on indefinitely, and that elections cannot be very far away, The Indian Express reported. The Election Commission, in a strongly-worded statement, had said all decisions on the conduct and timing of elections were its “sole remit”.
Murmu was interviewed by News18 hours before he resigned as lieutenant governor on Wednesday. In the interview, Murmu said National Conference leader Omar Abdullah’s view that there would be no elections until Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood was restored could be his personal opinion, and expressed hope that other parties do not hold the same opinion.
Asked about the continued detention of Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti, Murmu said: “Time to time, the [security] situation is reviewed...many leaders have been released after review...we will continue the process in the future too and those who can be released will be released.”
On restoration of 4G services in the Valley, the former lieutenant governor said the decision to suspend 4G connectivity was not due to security concerns. “There is a continuous process of assessment going on,” he said. “Currently also, Pakistan and other elements have been doing this kind of propaganda. Security forces are good to handle it. So I don’t think that is an issue.”