If July 13 is celebrated each year as Martyrs Day only across parts of Kashmir the people belonging to Jammu division have now started raising the demand, in one voice, for announcing the October 26, Accession day, as state holiday.
At present the coalition government headed by National Conference Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is not paying any attention to the campaign but in the days to come the demand may gather momentum in the run up to the Assembly polls where more and more Jammu based political parties, social organisations and activists are expected to join hands and intensify their campaign.
All ready this year several stake holders have openly demanded that the
Accession day be declared as State Holiday, much to the chagrin of the Kashmir based mainstream political parties who have been celebrating July 13 as Martyr’s day.
On July 13, 1931 at least 22 people who killed by state forces when they were demonstrating against the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. In contrast the day the Maharaja signed the instrument of Accession the successive state governments, ignored the historic importance and made a deliberate attempt to showcase the history of the state looking through the prism of the Kashmiris ignoring the sentiments of the people belonging to Jammu region.
Jitendra Singh, chief spokesperson of BJP, had demanded the Accession Day should be declared a state holiday and a notification be issued cancelling the Martyrs Day on July 13 in its place, which, he said was unconstitutional.
Former Mayor Kavinder Gupta and senior BJP leader Hari Om also supported the demand of Dr Jitendra Singh. On Wednesday Ashwani Churangoo of Panun Kashmir also echoed similar sentiments and urged the state govt to declare Accession Day as state holiday with immediate effect.
It was on October 26, 1947 Maharaja Hari Singh had signed the instrument of accession with the Indian State.
Duggar Vikas Manch had organised an impressive cultural programme and a rally at the historic Mubarak Mandi complex as part of its three-day-long Duggar festival to celebrate Accession Day and highlight rich Dogra culture this year.
MLAs Ashok Khajuria, Ashwani Sharma, former Mayor Narinder Singh, Manch president Daneshwar Singh, prominent citizens, members of civil society and scores of schoolchildren attended the event.
Several other organisations also organised similar functions and echoed the similar demand on the occasion. It remains to be seen whether the political leaders in Jammu region would be able to build a sustained campaign centering around the Accession Day or not.