Jammu, Sep 15: The Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to declare Maharaja Hari Singh’s birth anniversary a public holiday. A notification in this regard will be issued soon.
An official spokesperson said that the announcement was made by Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha following his meeting with a delegation comprising prominent political leaders, members of the Yuva Rajput Sabha, civil society members, including the head of J&K Transport Union at the Raj Bhavan on Thursday.
“The government has decided to declare Maharaja Hari Singhji’s birthday as a public holiday. Maharaja Hari Singh was a great educationist, progressive thinker, social reformer, and a towering man of ideas and ideals. The public holiday will be a fitting tribute to Maharaja Hari Singhji's rich legacy,” the Lieutenant Governor observed.
Pertinently, on the directions of Lt Governor, a four-member committee was constituted by the UT administration earlier this year to examine the public demand regarding the holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh.
Prominent political leaders including Member Parliament Jugal Kishore Sharma; former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh; Devender Rana, Sat Sharma; Ajit Singh, president of All J&K Transport Union; Rajan Singh president, Yuva Rajput Sabha and members of Yuva Rajput Sabha were present on the occasion, the official statement mentioned.
Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Mukesh Singh, ADGP Jammu; Ramesh Kumar, Divisional Commissioner Jammu; Vivek Gupta, DIG; Avny Lavasa, DC Jammu and Chandan Kohli, SSP Jammu were also present.
Before the UT government’s declaration, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders stated that Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha principally agreed to declare September 23 as a holiday on the birth anniversary of the last Dogra ruler of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
They made this statement after a delegation of BJP leaders called on LG Sinha at Raj Bhavan this evening.
“We had a detailed cordial meeting with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. He principally agreed on declaring a holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singhji. Soon a notification will be issued (by the Government of J&K) after completing all the formalities (regarding the declaration of the holiday),” said former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh while speaking to media persons outside the Raj Bhavan in Jammu.
He said, “I congratulate the people of J&K and the country, especially the people of Dugar Pradesh as it was a 72-year long pending demand of the nationalist people of J&K, mainly Jammu people.”
He said the last Dogra Maharaja had a big role in the accession of J&K with India and in making it (J&K) the crown of the country.
“When we were in government (as an alliance partner with PDP), we did struggle for it and even had fights in the cabinet to ensure public holiday on Maharaja Hari Singh’s birthday. However, our coalition partner did not agree,” Singh said and hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
He said, “Due to continuous efforts, the holiday has been assured on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singhji, who was a social reformer and gave equal rights to the marginalized sections of society.”
Ex-MLA and senior BJP leader Devender Singh Rana said, “We have come back after a meeting with the Lieutenant Governor and I want to congratulate the people of Jammu and Kashmir that keeping in view the emotional and aspirations of the people, the Union Home Minister and LG approved the holiday thus fulfilling a long pending demand of the people.”
To a question related to notification, he said, “We were told that they (government) will issue a notification about the declaration to the holiday before September 23, 2022).”
Soon after the press briefing by the BJP leaders outside the Raj Bhavan, people, especially youth, came out on the roads and celebrated the decision with slogans in Jammu. J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina too joined the celebrations of youth and Yuva Rajput Sabha near Tawi Bridge in front of the Maharaja Hari Singh statue.
For the last several years, the Yuva Rajput Sabha had been agitating in favour of this demand. Recently, they even blocked the Tawi Bridge as a part of their agitation. Their demand was being supported by various political, social, and religious organisations.
(With inputs from Syed Amjad Shah)