Girish Chandra Murmu on Thursday took oath as the first Lt. Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The oath was administered by Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Gita Mittal.

Murmu has replaced Satya Pal Malik who has been transferred to and appointed as the Governor of Goa.

The 1985-batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre is seen as a close confidante of Prime Minister Modi, having been his Principal Secretary when Modi was Gujarat Chief Minister. He was appointed OSD in the Expenditure Department in November 2018. His retirement would have come this November.

Jammu and Kashmir has been under the Governor’s rule since 19 June 2018 when the PDP-BJP coalition government fell as the latter withdrew support to the Mehbooba Mufti-led alliance regime. The then Governor NN Vohra, while imposing Governor’s rule, did not dissolve the Assembly. Satya Pal Malik had been in-charge of the Jammu and Kashmir administration since he took over as governor two months later.

Earlier in the day, former IAS officer Radha Krishna Mathur was sworn in as the first Lt. Governor of the Union territory of Ladakh in a simple ceremony at Leh.

Talking to reporters after taking the oath, Mathur said development is composite and efforts will be made to carry out development work in all areas. He said that a development package will be made where education and health will play an important role.

Former Chief Information Commissioner and Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur is a 1977 batch IAS officer, of the Tripura Cadre, Mathur had retired as CIC in November 2018 after serving as Defence Secretary from 2013 to 2015. He was also the Chief Secretary of Tripura.

The swearing-ins came hours after Jammu and Kashmir was officially bifurcated into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The state has been officially divided into the two Union Territories pursuant to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, which the government passed in Parliament on August 5.

According to the Act, the UT of J&K will have a legislature while the UT of Ladakh will have no legislature.

On August 5, the Centre abrogated Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.