The Congress, CPI(M) and National Conference (NC) have accused the BJP of tinkering with the historical facts of Jammu and Kashmir by dropping Sheikh Abdullah’s birth anniversary from the list of holidays during 2020 for the newly created Union Territories (UTs) of J&K and Ladakh.

The two UTs, headed by lieutenant governors, had on Friday issued their respective holiday calendars in which the Sheikh’s birthday on 5 December and Kashmir’s Martyrs Day on 13 July were dropped.

The UT of J&K has included a new holiday on 26 October to mark the Accession Day of J&K with the rest of India. The last Dogra ruler Hari Singh had signed the Instrument of Accession merging the state with India.

The J&K Congress chief, GA Mir, reacting to the government’s decision told The Statesman that it was highly disgusting that the BJP was indulging in petty politics by scrapping the holiday of the birthday of the towering personality like Sheikh Abdullah who rejected the two-nation theory and was instrumental in the merger of Kashmir with India.

It is a historical fact that Jinnah had sent feelers to the Sheikh for joining with the Islamic Pakistan but he rejected the offer.

Mir said that the BJP has failed to connect with Kashmiri people but at the same time has annoyed the people of Jammu by rejecting the demand for including Maharaja Hari Singh’s birth anniversary in the list of holidays.

He described the Martyrs Day as a historical event.

The CPI(M) leader, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, said the dropping of Martyrs’ Day and Sheikh Abdullah’s birth anniversary from the list of public holidays is disgraceful and such methods are bound to alienate the administration from the people.

Terming the decision of the administration to drop the two holidays an attempt to “distort the history”, Tarigami said the struggle of 13 July 1931 martyrs was against the tyrannical regime. It was aimed for the better future of the whole of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. It was a heroic struggle of the people for the whole of the population, irrespective of caste, color, creed, and religion.

The government’s decision has virtually been taken to further divide the ranks of people, he alleged. The administration, which is already alienated from people, is further increasing its alienation by making such announcements.

The BJP government at the Center is trying to divide the people of Jammu and Kashmir further by such divisive agenda which we are sure people of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh will not allow them to fulfill. Already they have done enough damage to the secular fabric of the country by the decisions like the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

He also questioned the decision of the administration to abolish the 5 December holiday which is National Conference founder late Sheikh Abdullah’s birthday. Sheikh sahib’s was a towering personality and his historic contribution to the freedom struggle and empowerment of people of J&K can’t be ignored. Whatever empowerment of people you see today came through decision like Land-to-Tiller and Education for All which are the outcome of that movement.

To downgrade a leader like Sheikh Abdullah is virtually playing a prank with the history, Tarigami added.

Provincial President of NC, Devender Rana, also criticised the government’s decision to abolish the two holidays.

NC expects political sagacity to prevail upon those at the helm by reviewing the decision about the birth anniversary of Sheikh Abdullah, he said

Welcoming the government’s decision of declaring a holiday on the Accession Day, Maharaja Hari Singh’s grandson, Vikramaditya Singh tweeted; “Congratulations to the people of J&K! From next year, 26th October, the day my grandfather, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession to India will be observed as a state holiday. This is a mark of respect for sacrifices of the J&K State Forces and the Indian Army”.

It is worth mentioning that Vikramaditya had resigned from the PDP and also from the Legislative Council in support of his demand for a holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh and discrimination with Jammu.

The UT’s BJP unit has also welcomed the inclusion of Accession Day as a holiday and dropping the two other holidays.

The Team Jammu chief, Zorawar Singh Jamwal, has urged the government to respect sentiments of the people of Jammu by declaring a holiday on 23 September on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh who took the bold step of signing the Instrument of Accession to merge J&K with India. The BJP led Jammu Municipal Corporation had recently unanimously adopted a resolution seeking a holiday on Hari Singh’s birthday, he pointed out.