Rajya Sabha MP Karan Singh on Saturday welcomed the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council resolution declaring the birthday of his father Maharaja Hari Singh as a state holiday, even as he slammed “attempts to brand” the state’s erstwhile ruler as “communal”. The Congress leader also alleged that the National Conference (NC) was responsible for spreading “poisonous rumours” about his father and the Dogra rule in the state.
“Peace prevailed in the state during the rule of the Dogras. In 100 years of Dogra rule, bullets were fired only once…that too because the shops of Kashmiri Pandits were probably being looted. In the firing, some people were killed and that is being celebrated as martyr’s day,” Singh said. “When Hari Singh came to power, he had said that his religion was justice. His closest friends were Muslims and there were always Muslims in his staff. It is very wrong to call him communal. He was a very progressive ruler who carried several reforms” he added.
Speaking at the launch of the books — ‘Jammu-Kashmir aur Maharaja Hari Singh’ and ‘Sufi Satta aur Samaj’ written by Harbans Singh, the MP said the move to declare his father’s birthday as a holiday had came very late and should have been done earlier. “This is a welcome step, but this should have happened much before. Unfortunately National Conference spread a lot of poisonous rumours against him and the Dogra rule,” he said. He also questioned why Sheikh Abdullah’s birthday was a holiday when the same treatment had not been accorded to his father.
“If Sheikh Abdullah’s birthday is a holiday in Jammu and Kashmir, why not Hari Singh’s? I accept that Abdullah supported the accession and played a good role at the time. But the person responsible for the accession is not even mentioned. Ask any old resident of Kashmir who they prefer — Hari Singh’s rule or the current regime,” he said.
The Congress leader also said that the entire case for accession would have come to nought had Hari Singh said that he did not want to do it. “My father’s role during that time (of accession) was very crucial. I was a first hand witness during that time. Such was his love for the country that he remained silent. If he had said anything about the accession, if he had said that he did not want to do it, the entire case would have come to nought,” he claimed.
On the occasion, the two books were launched by Singh along with ex-CJI T S Thakur. “Hari Singh played a pivotal rule in the narrative of Jammu and Kashmir. From what I heard of him, I have a permanent respect in my heart for him,” Thakur said.