Bharatiya Janata Party unit in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh will celebrate Accession Day of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India on October 26, the party’s state general secretary Ashok Kaul said. After discussing preparations for a successful programme, Kaul told reporters that it will be celebrated across the state at every level in the organisation.

On October 26, 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir then, signed the instrument of accession of J-K with the Union of India, and as such this day forms a very important landmark in the history. “The historic day forms an essential part of our lives and every resident of the state must celebrate it,” said Kaul.

India attained Independence in August 1947 and rulers of princely states had to decide whether to join India or Pakistan. Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh could not decide which country to join, since he was Hindu ruling over a predominantly Muslim population.

On October 22, 1947, Pakistan invaded Kashmir from the north with an army of soldiers and tribesmen armed with modern weapons and Kashmir, without an army, was under threat. Maharaja Hari Singh sent his representative, Sheikh Abdullah, to Delhi to ask for India’s help and later signed the ‘Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State.’

“I hereby declare that I accede to the Dominion of India with the intent that the Governor General of India, the Dominion Legislature, the Federal Court and any other Dominion authority established for the purposes of the Dominion shall by virtue of this my Instrument of Accession but subject always to the terms thereof, and for the purposes only of the Dominion, exercise in relation to the State of Jammu & Kashmir (hereinafter referred to as “this State”) such functions as may be vested in them by or under the Government of India Act, 1935, as in force in the Dominion of India, on the 15th day of August 1947, (which Act as so in force is hereafter referred to as “the Act’),” the accession document read.

However, since the abrogation of article 370 on August 5 the conditions of accession have been violated, with central government taking more control of the state and ending its special status.

Separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik have asked people to observe Kashmir’s Accession Day as a “black day.” It was on this day in 1947 that the Indian Army landed in Srinagar.