Taking the controversy over non-declaration of holiday on Maharaja Hari Singh’s birthday to the doorstep of Congress and National Conference, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh on Thursday said that the demand will be accepted the moment their senior leaders including Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and G A Mir publicly ask for it.
“Mein National Conference aur Congress to challenge karta hoon ki unke neta Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah aur G A Mir kahenye ki Maharaja Hari Singh ke janamdin par chutti honi chahiye aur hum ek second mein sarkar se chutti karva lengey,” (I challenge National Conference and Congress that let their leaders including Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and G A Mir demand holiday on birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh and we will make the government to announce it within a second), said the Deputy Chief Minister. In Valley, they play Kashmir politics and in Jammu, they try to mislead people, he said, adding that this will not be allowed.
For the past nearly two months, Jammu-based leaders of Congress and National Conference among other opposition parties have been criticizing BJP ministers in the coalition government for their failure to get public holiday announced on the birthday of last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh which falls on September 23. While Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh had written a letter to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for announcing holiday on September 23 in view of the public sentiments in Jammu region, the government did not pay heed to it as it has already been observing martyrs day on July 13 in the memory of those who were killed in action against uprising in the Valley by Maharaja’s forces in 1931. The PDP’s member of the Legislative Council, Yuvraj Vikramaditya Singh, who happened to be its Jammu face and also the grandson of late Maharaja, has resigned from the party in protest over non-fulfillment of this demand.
Addressing a rally in Jammu, Singh asked them opposition to publicly debate the issue with facts instead of trying to mislead people. He accused both the National Conference and Congress of compelling the Maharaja leave Jammu and Kashmir after signing the Instrument of Accession, adding that even his dead body was not allowed in the state. Only his mortal remains had come, he added.
Describing October 26 as a great day in the history of the state and India when Maharaja Hari Singh acceded the state to Indian Union in 1947, Singh said that he signed the same Instrument of Accession which had been signed by other rulers of the princely states. It was, however, the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru who in a letter to Lord Mountbatten talked of seeking opinion of people on accession even when he had no such mandate, he regretted.