JEHANGIR ALI | 27 JANUARY, 2017
NC, Congress Oppose Resolution For Holiday On Hari Singh Birth Anniversary
SRINAGAR: The Opposition National Conference today staged a walk-out from the state assembly over a controversial resolution, passed by the upper house, to declare Dogra monarch Maharaja Hari Singh's birthday as a public holiday.
The private member resolution, brought by Ajat Shatru Singh, grandson of Hari Singh and the ruling BJP MLC, urges the government to declare holiday on September 23, the birth anniversary of Maharaja to commemorate the "development" of Jammu and Kashmir under the last Dogra ruler.
"The state of Jammu and Kashmir witnessed real development under the Dogra rule but unfortunately their footprints have been erased from the history,"Singh had said while moving the resolution on Tuesday.
Opposing the move, the National Conference legislators said the ruling PDP-BJP coalition, under a well planned conspiracy, passed the resolution when the opposition members were not present in the upper house.
The firebrand legislator from north Kashmir, Engineer Rashid, also joined the opposition in protest, asking the government to clear its stand on the issue.
Earlier, veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani reacted sharply to the resolution, saying it is "ridiculous to legitimize the despotic rule of Dogra rulers and it is to approve infamous Amritsar treaty”.
In a statement, the octogenarian leader said people of J&K were "exploited and subjected to extreme barbarism" during the rule of Hari Singh.
The Dogra rule is a "miserable chapter of history and persons and parties responsible for that are not entitled to any type of esteem and respect", Geelani said.
The resolution, which got the backing of the Peoples Democratic Party members, excluding Nizamuddin Bhat and Khurshid Alam, was pushed for a voice vote, despite the government spokesman, Naeem Akhtar, opposing it, citing the holiday-burdened calender of the state government.
The opposition National Conference and Congress MLCs had walked out of the Upper House on Tuesday when the resolution, which was passed with 11 to 3 votes, was moved by the Maharaja's grandson.
The irony of celebrating an autocrat leader's birthday in a supposedly democratic set-up didn't miss many in the Valley who trained guns at the ruling PDP for implementing the Hindutva agenda of RSS in the state.