By Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, India, Aug 6 – India’s federal government named a former telecoms minister on Thursday to lead the restive region of Kashmir, where it hopes to accelerate economic development and end years of strife.
Manoj Sinha, a leader in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party, will replace career bureaucrat G.C. Murmu as lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir, a government statement said.
The appointment came a day after authorities ensured that the first anniversary of the revocation of Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy passed off without any street protests amid heavy deployment of police and restrictions on public movement.
Last August, Modi’s government removed special privileges accorded to Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, took away its statehood and split it into two federally-administered territories by carving out Buddhist-dominated Ladakh.
The move angered Kashmiris as well as Pakistan. India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
On Thursday, anti-India militants shot dead a village council head from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in Kashmir’s Kulgam district, police said.
“He was shot multiple times outside his residence,” a police officer said. (Writing by Devjyot Ghoshal; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani & Simon Cameron-Moore)