JAMMU, DEC 5: Exhorting the Governor to honour the resolution adopted by the State’s Legislative Council last year regarding announcement of September 23 as a State holiday to commemorate Maharaja Hari Singh’s birthday, a strong contingent of Panther activists spearheaded by Chairman JKNPP, Harsh Dev Singh and other leaders staged a vociferous protest demonstration at Exhibition Ground, Jammu against the erstwhile BJP-PDP Government for keeping the announcement of most coveted holiday in abeyance.
While addressing the media, Harsh Dev Singh questioned the double standards of successive regimes in endorsing the holiday on the birth anniversary of Sheikh Mohd Abdullah while denying the same on Maharaja Hari Singh’s birthday. He said that the revered Maharaja shall always be remembered for showcasing his nationalistic ethos, when he acceded the State of J&K to the Union of India by signing the historic Instrument of Accession of 26th October, 1947. He wondered that if Sheikh Abdullah’s birthday could be observed as State holiday then why the same on Maharaja’s Birthday was denied, whose colossal contributions made millions of nationalist people of the State to call themselves as proud Indians. “Maharaja Hari Singh was the icon of secularism and modern democracy who introduced several social reforms in the fields of Judiciary, Education, Revenue, Finance etc. His contribution towards women empowerment, alleviation of racial discrimination on the basis of caste, creed and colour was impeccable and visionary. It was ironical that December 5 was being observed as a State holiday but September 23 was despicably ignored with a sectarian motive to disparage the achievements of the Maharaja and to hurt the sentiments of the Dogras”, Harsh rued.
Lambasting the Congress, NC and PDP as well for maintaining criminal silence to endorse the policy of delay and deny over the subject, Singh rued that the opposition to the holiday despite resolution to the effect having been passed in Legislative council during the previous government only exposed the communal psyche of Kashmir-centric leaders. He further deplored in particular the servile posturing of the then BJP Ministers who failed to get the same implemented while in power.
Asserting that all the nationalist people of the State and country were eagerly waiting for the announcement of the Govt.’s decision on holiday, Singh urged upon the Governor to immediately come up with the announcement of 23 Sept as Gazetted holiday in the State. He further maintained that the declaration of Maharaja Hari Singh’s birthday as State holiday would be a befitting tribute to the legendary ruler who was the symbol of pristine Dogra culture and heritage.