Chennai: The core team that helped Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah successfully achieve Mission Kashmir – scrapping of Articles 370 and 35 A and bifurcating J&K into two Union Territories – comprises three from Tamilnadu, besides top talent from a few other States.
The three from Tamilnadu are – External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, former IPS officer K Vijay Kumar and ex-bureaucrat K Skandan.
While Jaishankar, according to sources, had laid the groundwork by sensitising US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a few more global top guns that “this is purely an internal move which is aimed at promoting good governance and economic development in Jammu & Kashmir”, Vijay Kumar and Skandan, in their present capacities as advisors to J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik, took all efforts to ensure that the sensitive State remained calm when such a historic and bold decision was being implemented.
Vijay Kumar doesn’t need introduction in Tamilnadu. As Commissioner of Chennai Police and head of the Special Task Force that gunned down sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, he is popular in these parts and inspired many to join the police force.
Skandan, an alumni of Madras Law College and Madras Christian College, joined the IAS in 1982 and was allotted Tamilnadu cadre. He held various senior level positions in Tamilnadu and served continuously for 25 years before joining the Government of India.
Some of the important assignments held by him include being the first Registrar of Dr MGR Medical University in 1988; Special Officer and the Collector of Nagapattinam district in 1991-93; the first Member-Secretary of Financial Commission for Panchayats in 1994-95.
He served both as Director Agriculture and Sericulture in the years 1995 to 1997 and was Commissioner of Industries & Commerce during 2001-02. He also held the post of Secretary Industries in 2002-03. He formulated the SEZ policy for the State during this period.
He was also the Chairman of Tamilnadu Electricity Board and introduced ‘innovative strategies and planning’ to reduce transmission losses in the power sector and to boost its revenue.
Skandan was also the CMD of Tamilnadu News Print Ltd in 2003 and played ‘an important role’ in the modernisation of the unit and export marketing of its products.
In the Government of India, he held the assignments of Joint Secretary in-charge of Centre State Division, Kashmir Division from 2007 to 2012 and was assigned charge of the Additional Secretary (Centre-States) Division from 2012.
On Monday, when Shah made the announcements about Kashmir in Parliament, Vijay Kumar and Skandan, along with the Governor’s other advisor Farooq Khan, were busy taking stock of essential services in Jammu. They then returned to Srinagar and briefed the Governor about adequacy of essential supplies and delivery of various public services to the people, including electricity, water supply and health care services.
While the concept of ‘One India’ is about ensuring equality from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, it is only apt that the trio from the land of Kanyakumari have assisted the government in bringing Kashmir to the mainstream.
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Attorney General K K Venugopal, who is said to have played a key role in the legal team that reviewed the implications of Mission Kashmir, did his B.Sc in Physics from MCC at Tambaram, Chennai.
S Jaishankar, K Vijay Kumar, K Skandan