Trusted Bureaucrat Who Intervened to Protect Modi in Gujarat is Kashmir’s first Lt Governor

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi along wih Girish Chandra Murmu

There have been a number of investigative reports about how Murmu helped Modi and Shah escaped the troubles over their role in the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in which nearly 2,000 Muslims lost their lives. Tehelka magazine had found Murmu’s alleged involvement in the cover-up of Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case as well.

Zafar Aafaq | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI – Girish Chadra Murmu and R K Mathur have been appointed the first Lieutenant Governors of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh after the two regions were declared as Union territories through a parliamentary legislation, Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019. The President of India Ramnath Kovind made the announcement to this effect in a press release on Thursday.

Who is Girish Chandra Murmu?

G C Mumu comes from Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, a state in the east of India. He joined civil services in the mid-80s and chose Gujarat as his cadre. Murmu is currently serving as Expenditure Secretary in the Government of India’s Finance Ministry. Before being brought in to serve Union Government in 2014, he served in the key positions of Principal and Home Secretary in the Narendra Modi’s government in Gujarat for many years.

Murmu is considered a ‘go to’ man for Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. The duo often overlooks senior bureaucrats and prefer Murmu over senior officials to handle sensitive matters and safeguard their interests.

There have been a number of investigative reports about how Murmu helped Modi and Shah escaped the troubles over their role in the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in which nearly 2,000 Muslims lost their lives. Tehelka magazine had found Murmu’s alleged involvement in the cover-up of Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case as well. An audio recording made by the magazine during its investigation revealed Murmu allegedly discussing with two senior officials the ways to cover up the fake encounter.

Senior journalist Hartosh Singh Bal, now with the Caravan magazine, wrote in an article in the Open Magazine that Murmu as Home Secretary in Gujarat had cajoled and intimidated officials disposing before a commission investigating the pogrom in the state to save the then chief minister.

Around 2000 people were killed, majority of them Muslims, in the Gujarat riots that took place between February and March 2002

In 2014, when the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) came to power at the Centre after a landslide victory in General Elections, Murmu followed PM Modi and joined a closely-knit team of trusted bureaucrats.

Murmu was set to retire from his job in November. However, his appointment as Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir is seen not only as a reward for his “loyalty” but also his ability to deal with the tough situations and help the government navigate the trouble.

The Modi government’s Kashmir decision has seen criticism in India as well as abroad. The region has been in a lockdown since the early August and Kashmiris have been observing civil resistance to exhibit their unwillingness to come to the terms.

“The decision to place Murmu at the helm means that the government will find it relatively easy to tighten its stranglehold on Kashmir and implement the decisions,” a Srinagar-based journalist, who did not want to be named, said.

R K Mathur, who will take over as the most powerful man in Ladakh, is a former IAS officer who last served as Chief Information Commissioner. He has also served in Defense ministry, External affairs ministry and Rural Development ministry from time to time. He has also had a stint as Chief Secretary of Tripura, a state in the northeast of India.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir will cease to exist from October 31 after its division into two Union territories as per the controversial decisions of the BJP government in in early August. The region has been stripped of its special protections and now it will be directly ruled by the Central government from New Delhi.

When Murmu and Mathur are going to assume the charge of the highest executive in the two territories, the first job at hand for them is to overlook the cumbersome process of bringing the reorganisation into effect.

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