Srinagar, Dec 15: Showing strong resentment over Mehbooba led government’s refusal to declare holiday on the birth anniversary of late Maharaja Hari Singh, The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Friday said that it has called for an emergency meeting in Jammu to discuss a strategy against the matter.
“It is unfortunate that the government has not mentioned the September 23, as holiday. We are strongly against the move. We have called an emergency meeting in Jammu to chalk out the strategy in this regard,” BJP’s state president Sat Sharma said over phone from Jammu.
The resentment comes from the collation partner of PDP, day after the government issued an order of holidays which will be observed in 2018.
Sharma said that BJP had already informed the government to declare September 23 as holiday. “BJP ministers in the state cabinet were also exerting their influence on the chief minister for declaring a state holiday on the Maharaja’s birth anniversary, but it is unfortunate that government has not shown any seriousness in it. We will take up the matter seriously with the Chief Minister,” Sat Sharma said.
He said that if there could be a holiday to pay respects to Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah, why can’t there be a holiday on the birth anniversary of Hari Singh? We don’t believe that the last Dogra ruler was an autocrat. Hari Singh was a democratic leader and even the NC has recognized it,” he said.
The BJP leader said that there is anger against the party leaders in Jammu region for failing to declare holiday on the birth anniversary of late Dogra ruler of the state, Maharaja Hari Singh.
He called for providing justice to all the communities of the state without differentiating on the basis of religion, region, caste and creed. “Declaring a state holiday on his birth day would honour the “emotions and sentiments of Dogras and the public at large in J&K,” he said.
It is to mention here that the demand for state holiday on Maharaja Hari Singh’s birth anniversary was growing as many political and social organizations in Jammu region have came out openly in favour of demanding the state holiday on September 23, with several of them appealing state employees to go on mass leave.
The controversy got triggered after the State Legislative Council adopted a resolution in January that called upon the government to declare 23 September as a public holiday. The resolution was moved by former minister and BJP MLC Ajatshatru Singh, grandson of the late Maharaja.
Senior BJP leader and deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh had already wrote a letter to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in this regard.
The government on Thursday issued an order of holidays which will be observed in 2018. “In exercise of the powers conferred by the explanation of Section 25 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (Central Act 26 of 1881) read with the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification No. 20/25/56/pub-Ist dated 30.11.1957, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir hereby declares the days to be public holidays during the calendar year -2018,” the order says.
These holidays will be observed under the Negotiable instruments Act.
As per the order, there will be 25 holidays observed in 2018 including the birthday of National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on December 25, and holiday on martyr’s day on July 13, which the BJP has been demanding should be scrapped.
However, there is no mention of September 23, the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh.
The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) had lambasted the BJP for nor raising the issue with People’s Democratic Party, its coalition partner in the state.
National Conference had also demanded state holiday on birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh on September 23.
NC Provincial President, Devender Singh Rana had said: “People of Jammu demanded holiday on September 23 (Maharaja Hari Singh’s Birthday) in unanimity and I strongly support it and have made this clear on the floor of the Legislative Assembly also.”
He had said the people of state live in peace because of State Subject Law introduced by Maharaja in 1927 and the land reforms introduced by Sher-e-Kashmir. (KNS)