Gill tipped as J&K Governor in September
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Jul 15: Former Director General of Punjab Police, P.S. Gill, who proceeded on deputation to his home State after nearly 30 years of service in Jammu and Kashmir Police in 2009, is yet again in the NDA government’s top consideration zone as the next Governor in Jammu and Kashmir.
On Wednesday, STATE TIMES learned from knowledgeable sources that change of Governor in Jammu and Kashmir could occur anytime in the month of September after conclusion of the two-month-long Amarnath yatra. The BJP and its ideological arm RSS are understood to have zeroed in on two high profile names, including a retired Secretary to Government. Sources revealed that Mr Gill, who supervised and coordinated BJP's election campaign in Kashmir after joining BJP in 2014, had of late emerged as a favourite of the BJP and RSS high command.
If these sources are to be believed, Gill was last fortnight called to New Delhi for a closed-door meeting with RSS supremo Mohan Madhukar Bhagwat. "It appears that his name has been finalised but his appointment is still subject to a discussion bdetween BJP and RSS", said a source privy to the significant political development. Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he said, would be taken on board.
The incumbent Governor Narendra Nath Vohra, according to highly placed authoritative sources, had conveyed to New Delhi his desire to quit in the middle of his second term after the change of regime last year which witnessed replacement of over a dozen Governors appointed by the Congress-led UPA government. However, he had been asked to continue, making it clear to him that the Narendra Modi government had no immediate intention of the gubernatorial reshuffle in the sensitive State. Rumours of General (retd) Ata Mohammad Hasnain's possible appointment as J&K Governor were "appropriately" discounted to the Raj Bhawan by the Centre.
Mr Vohra, who also worked as the UPA government's pointman for Kashmir, was appointed Governor of J&K in June 2008 when Lt Gen (retd.) S.K. Sinha, was removed in the wake of a controversy that led to the Amarnath land row and fall of Ghulam Nabi Azad's Congress-PDP regime. Mr Vohra was granted extension of another term at the completion of five years as Governor in 2013.
A J&K cadre IPS officer from Punjab, Gill held key positions including SSP Jammu, DIG Kashmir, IGP Kashmir twice (during which he played a decisive role to uproot the secessionist militancy), additional DGP Armed Police, DG Prisons, Transport Commissioner and Vigilance Commissioner. He also held a tenure as Director of Sher-e-Kashmir Police Training Academy Udhampur.
However, Gill's contribution to creating an extensively linked counter-insurgent force and eliminating militancy in close coordination with Army, paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies, remained unmatched. He, nevertheless, faced tremendous criticism to his working from human rights activists to different political parties, all invariably accusing him of ordering extrajudicial killings of the captured militants and their civilian sympathisers in fake encounters. It was during his leadership that the hardcore counter-insurgent officers like Farooq Khan, Munir Khan, JP Singh, Ashkoor Wani, Jagjit Kumar, Manohar Singh, Ramesh Kumar Jalla and many others wiped out militancy with hundreds of operations by Special Operations Group, initially known as State Task Force (STF).
Officers like K. Rajendra Kumar (now DGP of J&K) and Shiv Murari Sahai (now ADGP Armed) subsequently played prominent role in putting an end to the militancy which is officially claimed to be currently at its lowest ebb.
Gill's father, who was a Congress MLA in Moga, had been shot dead by militants during the armed insurgency in Punjab. Gill's elder brother also retired as a DGP in Punjab. After his retirement, PS Gill contested but lost Assembly elections in Punjab on Akali Dal ticket. However, in 2014, he joined BJP.
When STATE TIMES contacted Mr Gill in Chandigarh to know his reaction to the reports of his likely appointment as Governor of J&K, he asserted: "I am here with my family since last week. I have no knowledge of any such development in recent past".