Order seen as nudge to incumbent officer, who has been transferred to Delhi
A J&K government order asking all administrative departments to report to newly-appointed Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta “immediately”, relieving his predecessor B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, has fuelled speculations about latter being reluctant to move outside the Union Territory after the recent transfer order by the Centre.
An order issued by Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, Commissioner Secretary of the General Administration Department (GAD), on Friday ordered that “all the functions of the Chief Secretary shall now be disposed of by Arun Kumar Mehta”.
“All the administrative departments are directed to address all the papers and files to Mr. Mehta from May 31,” the order read.
The rare second order came just a day after the Centre announced that Mr. Subrahmanyam had been transferred and posted as Commerce Secretary, Government of India. However, the superannuation of current Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan is due only on June 30. Sources said Mr. Subrahmanyam was miffed by not been allowed to stay on the chief secretary of J&K for the month of June.
Mr. Subrahmanyam took over as J&K Chief Secretary on June 20, 2018, immediately after the BJP pulled out of the alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party and brought the erstwhile State under Governor’s rule. He emerged as the key person overseeing the process of J&K’s bifurcation into two geographical entities of J&K and Ladakh, and downgrading from a State to two Union Territories (UTs), after the Centre ended its special constitutional position on August 5, 2019.
During the transition, he repeatedly targetted the local political parties and their top leaders, including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Hundreds of mainstream political leaders, including Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Sajad Lone, were put behind the bars during his tenure.
Peoples Conference chief Lone was the first politician to refer to his transfer, saying the ex-CS will be remembered as “the darkest person in the darkest hours of Kashmir”.
“A person consumed by the self and also consumed by hatred for the Kashmiris. (I) Saw expression of naked hatred for Kashmiris and belittlement of Kashmiris as a means of upward mobility for his self. (He) Trespassed into a domain, which belonged to the political class. (He) Made statements which were unambiguously political in nature. He wanted to humiliate entire race and entire identity,” Mr. Lone said.
He alleged that the officer actually had “delusions of Godliness”.
“(He) Thought of himself as God. Dropped big names. Boasted of having kicked out gubernatorial entities,” Mr. Lone added.
Tagging the fresh government order on Twitter, National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah, said, “A man who famously said no Kashmiri shed tears when mainstream politicians were detained in 2019. In 2021, it looks like no one can wait to show him the door. Be careful who you step on the way up, you will meet them on the way down.”
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who posted a video of a youth who committed suicide in south Kashmir, and said, “I hope new CS adopts a more humane approach unlike his predecessor.”
Many political parties in Kashmir see Mr. Subrahmanyam’s transfer out of Kashmir as a move by the Centre to soft peddle in the UT and likely a starting point for a political engagement.
The Hindu made several attempts to speak to Mr. Subrahmanyam on the issue but failed to get a response.
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