Jammu&Kashmir and Ladakh, the two Union Territories created recently after dividing the state of Jammu and Kashmir, will officially come into existence on October 31, the Union Home Minister said on Friday after President Ram Nath Kovind's nod to Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill.
October 31 happens to be the birth anniversary of the country's first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was instrumental in the merger of about 565 princely states into the Union of India following Independence.
Earlier this week, the Parliament had given its nod to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill for bifurcating the state, a bold and far-reaching decision that seeks to redraw the map and future of the militancy-hit region.
During his national address on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that while Ladakh will remain a Union Territory, Jammu and Kashmir will be givn back its full statehood after improvement in the situation. He said that Ladakh and J&K has the capabilities to become the tourists hub of the world.
In a muscular move, the Modi government had on August 5 scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir by removing several clauses of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The government also said that it will support a Bill to divide the state into two Union Territories (UTs) - Jammu and Kashmir with its own legislature like Delhi and Ladakh without legislature like Chandigarh.
In anticipation of the announcement, the government had flooded the Valley with thousands of additional troops and evacuated tourists and Hindi pilgrims. Mainstream politicians, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah along with many others have been arrested and taken to unknown locations.
The authorities have also closed educational institutions and severed communication channels in the Valley. Kashmiris living outside the state expressed their angst against the shut down of internet and mobile services as they were unable to contact their families living in curfew like situation in the Valley.