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Govt scraps 2 public holidays in J&K: What are these and why have they been removed?

The new holiday introduced is that on October 26, the day when Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to the Dominion of India in the year 1947.

January 02, 2020 / 04:35 PM IST
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The government in Jammu and Kashmir has scrapped two existing public holidays and introduced a new one, a move seen by the Muslim dominant Valley as a reflection of the Centre’s assertion, The Indian Express has reported.

The government has cancelled public holidays on December 5 – commemorated as the birth anniversary of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, founder of the National Conference and former prime minister and chief minister of J&K – and July 13, which is observed as Martyr’s Day in Jammu and Kashmir.

On July 13, 1931, 22 Kashmiris were killed outside the Srinagar Central Jail, where they had assembled to protest against the then Dogra rulers.

The new holiday introduced is that on October 26, the day when Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to the Dominion of India in the year 1947. Kashmir still observes a Black Day on October 27, which is marked by a shut down.

Historical significance

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When the BJP had formed the government in Jammu and Kashmir, in alliance with Mehbooba Mufti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP), they had started to demand a holiday for Hari Singh, the Dogra king, who ruled Kashmir when 22 people were killed outside Srinagar jail. Most BJP leaders, who hailed from Jammu, also stayed away from the functions organised on Martyr’s Day.

The uprising in 1931, which led to the killing, is seen as the first attempt of the community to assert their Muslim identity in J&K.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdullah, who is also known as Sher-e-Kashmir, is significant for his efforts to integrate J&K with India. He was a close friend of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It was him who had converted the Muslim Conference to National Conference in 1939 and advocated that J&K goes with a secular India rather than Pakistan.

Hence the move to scrap these two holidays is being seen as a move to erase the efforts of Sheikh Abdullah as well as other Muslim leaders, who sided with India in 1947, and largely an attack on J&K’s Muslim assertion.

The Centre’s assertion also raises a question mark on the revival of a democratic political process in J&K as its political leaders, including three former chief ministers remain in detention, post-abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 2, 2020 04:35 pm

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