The State of Jammu and Kashmir will transition into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh on October 31, and the process will begin with the swearing-in of the two newly appointed Lieutenant-Governors in Srinagar and Leh, respectively. The bifurcation and downgrade of the State into Union Territories will be a “low-key” affair, a senior official said.

Gita Mittal, Chief Justice of the J&K High Court, will first administer the oath to G.C. Murmu in Srinagar and then fly to Leh for the swearing-in of Radha Krishna Mahur. Under the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 passed by Parliament on August 6, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of of J&K has been increased from 107 to 114.

Rules Not Notified

Ladakh will not have an Assembly and will be directly governed by the Union Home Ministry through the Lieutenant-Governor. The rules to govern under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 are yet to be notified though.After October 31, 106 Central laws will be applicable to J&K, along with 166 State Acts, including the Governor’s Act. The reorganisation Act says 153 State laws will be repealed.

October 31 coincides with the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. An official said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit the Statue of Unity at Kevadia in Gujarat to mark the occasion and Home Minister Amit Shah would flag off a “Run for Unity” in Delhi the same day.

The official said the two events were not linked to the reorganisation of J&K. “The UTs of J&K and Ladakh will come into existence as other newly carved out States have come up in the past. The most recent example is Telangana, the Act was passed in March 2014 and the appointed day was June 2, 2014. It will not be a grandiose affair but a smooth transition,” said the official.

Venue Is Srinagar

Notwithstanding the annual Darbar Move of the State capital of J&K to Jammu once in every six months, the swearing-in will take place in Srinagar. Administrative officials have been asked to stay there for a smooth transition.

The Kashmir Valley and parts of Jammu were placed under severe restrictions, including communication blockade since the early hours on August 5 — the day Home Minister Amit Shah moved two Bills in the Rajya Sabha to read down Article 370 that had granted special status to J&K and to downgrade and bifurcate the State. The restrictions were eased in the past one month.

Earlier, the Home Ministry appointed a three-member committee to apportion the assets and liabilities of the State of J&K between the two UTs. The committee is yet to submit its report.