Vikramaditya Singh, a PDP legislator and grandson of Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, has urged the Mehbooba Mufti government to declare state holiday on September 23, the birth anniversary of the late king. Singh’s demand has come in the form of an open letter to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Significantly, the state already observes a public holiday on July 13 in memory of those killed by the forces of Hari Singh, the then king, in 1931.
Offering special prayers and tributes to those killed, at old Srinagar city graveyard, Mehbooba had on July 13 said that these people gave their lives for the establishment of a democratic and happy Jammu and Kashmir. No one from the BJP, the PDP’s ally in the state government, had attended the function, as the party has in the past denounced the event as a black day.
In a statement, state BJP spokesperson Virender Gupta had said that July 13, 1931 was “the most controversial event that spurred Muslim communal politics in Jammu and Kashmir while sidelining the ethos of Sufism in the Valley, and thus cannot be celebrated as Martyrs Day”.
In his letter to the CM, Vikramaditya Singh said that the people, especially in Jammu region, have very strong attachment with the erstwhile king. “His reforms cut across social, religious, caste and gender barriers to impart justice to all,’’ Singh wrote.
“There is perhaps no field of administration that he did not impact positively, be it healthcare, education, forests and environment, irrigation canals and flood protection channels, wildlife and fisheries, horticulture, sericulture, etc.’’ “Finally, he signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947, making Jammu and Kashmir a part of India,” Singh wrote.