In a first, Jammu and Kashmir will observe a public holiday on October 26 to mark Accession Day. Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, had signed the Instrument of Accession on this date in 1947. This comes after the J&K and Ladakh authorities dropped Martyrs’ Day and the birth anniversary of National Conference founder Sheikh Abdullah, on July 13 and December 5, respectively, from its list of gazetted holidays.
July 13 and December 5 were public holidays in the state of J&K which has now been made a Union Territory. Martyrs’ Day was observed in the memory of protesters killed in firing by soldiers of Hari Singh on July 13, 1931.
With this, the new UT of J&K will have 27 public holidays instead of the previous 28, according to a list of public holidays issued by the General Administration Department on Friday.
Former legislator and senior Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh, who is also the grandson of Maharaja Hari Singh, tweeted, “From next year, 26th October, the day my grandfather, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession to India will be observed as a state holiday. This is a mark of respect for sacrifices of the J&K State Forces and the Indian Army.”
The government’s move has triggered anger in the Valley, with mainstream political parties lashing out at the BJP and demanding a review.
NC MP Hasnain Masoodi said the decision is “not acceptable”. “Whosoever has taken this decision has done no good to the country and the people of the country. These are two most important events, but if you downplay… and delete the holidays, the message they want to give is that we don’t care for these events,” he said.
PDP spokesperson Tahir Sayeed said the “decision reveals the communal and fascist mindset of BJP”.
J&K Pradesh Congress Committee demanded a review. “Sheikh sahib has a huge contribution in politics and the aim of the BJP is to disregard it…” J&K PCC chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines