PDP Leader Wants State Holiday on Maharaja’s Birthday

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SRINAGAR: Senior leader of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Vikramaditya Singh has written an open letter to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti demanding September 23 be declared as state holiday as ‘mark of respect’ for the last autocratic ruler of the state, Maharaja Hari Singh.

Vikramaditya Singh also sought attention of the Chief Minister towards the historic resolution passed, unanimously, in the J&K Legislative Council in the month of January this year in this regard.

BJP member Ajatshatru Singh moved the resolution in the the Upper House, which was backed by all BJP members and the PDP’s Vikramaditya Singh. Ajatshatru and Vikramaditya are the grandsons of Hari Singh and sons of veteran Congress leader Karan Singh.

While the opposition National Conference staged a walkout from the legislative council in support of its demand for withdrawal of the resolution, independent MLA Engineer Rashid had termed the passage of the resolution as a “murder of the democracy”. He said the demand was a “disrespect to the people who gave their life fighting against the autocratic rule”.

Interestingly BJP, which is partner in the state government, refused to join Martyrs Day ceremony, observed officially every year on 13th of July in memory of those who laid down their lives fighting to end Maharaja’s autocratic rule in Kashmir, eversincme it came to power three years back.

Vikramaditya Singh stated in the letter, written to the Chief Minister, however stated, “I feel compelled to write to you on an important issue that is touching the core of the heart of the people of Jammu. As you are aware, Jammu has had a long standing demand that the J&K Government should declare Maharaja Hari Singh Ji’s anniversary on September 23rd as State holiday. This is being supported by all sections of society, communities and the public at large”.

“As a representative of the people and your MLC, it is my duty to bring to your attention that even today there are very strong sentiments attached with Maharaja Hari Singhji, especially when it comes to the foresighted and progressive social reforms and developmental works that were undertaken during his rule as Maharaja”, he mentioned, adding, “ His reforms cut across social, religious, caste and gender barriers to impart justice to all, be it, healthcare, education, forests, environment, irrigation, canals, flood projection channels, wildlife, fisheries, horticulture, sericulture etc. He set up important and premier institutions for smoother delivery of justice like the J&K High Court, had introduced modern day banking system in the State by bringing highly qualified people from Mumbai to set up the J&K Bank”.

He further added that for the Dalits, Maharaja had opened doors of Jammu’s holiest city temples and allowed them to worship gods. Maharaja had encouraged young girls to get education by giving them grants, banned child marriage, abolished the practice of ‘Sati’ and encouraged widow remarriage. And finally, he signed the ‘Instrument of Accession’ on October 26th, 1947, making Jammu and Kashmir part of India.

He reminded that in January this year, the Legislative Council had passed a resolution in the House that supported the declaration of state holiday on the day of his birth anniversary. More recently, all political parties in J&K have publicly spoken in favour of Maharaja Hari Singh’s contribution to our State and supported the call for state holiday.

 “Announcing state holiday on the birth anniversary of a person so such distinguished accomplishments will not be a befitting tribute to him, but more significantly, it would mean honouring and respecting the strong sentiments of the people of Jammu region”, he said, adding, “As Chief Minister, you will not only win hearts of the people of Jammu but also help in reducing the growing regional divide and barriers between Jammu and Kashmir regions, as our late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed always desired”.

 “Madam, I sincerely appeal to you to kindly consider my advice positively and show yourself as the true leader of our fragile state who does not fear to recognize and honour the man who known to have said justice is my religion and all religions are mine.”

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