As Jammu and Kashmir administration deleted holidays observed on National Conference patriarch Sheikh Abdullah’s birth anniversary and `Martyrs’ Day’ for the calendar year 2020, people in the Valley Saturday questioned the ‘unilateral’ move.
In a significant decision, the Union Territory (UT) government of J&K besides dropping the two events from the public holidays also ordered a holiday on October 26 on the occasion of Accession Day of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country.
Till now Martyrs' Day was observed in Jammu and Kashmir on July 13 every year in remembrance of people killed in firing by soldiers of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh on this day in 1931 during protests against his autocratic rule.
Sheikh Abdullah’s birth anniversary falls on December 5. The changes in public holidays specific to J&K have come at a time when it has become a UT.
The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the CPI (M) said the dropping of Martyrs' Day and Abdullah's birth anniversary from the list of public holidays is disgraceful and an attempt to distort the history.
“The struggle of 1931 martyrs was for the better future of the whole of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. It was a freedom struggle for the whole of the population, irrespective of caste, color, creed, and religion which reflected the aspirations of the entire population of Jammu and Kashmir,” CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami told DH over the phone.
He alleged that the BJP government at the Center was 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.”
Despite internet gag in Kashmir, some netizens expressed their anger over the development. Arjimand Hussain Talib, who publishes his newspaper, wrote on Facebook: “So shocking, Jammu and Kashmir's administration today issued formal orders canceling the state holidays on 13th July Martyrs' Day and Sheikh Abdullah Sahab's birthday.”
“This is a reflection of an extremely bigoted mindset, which we Kashmiris must reject (sic),” he added.
Another Facebook user Arshid Bashir said “this is a blunt and blatant onslaught on our history and identity. we surely need to resist this tooth and nail (sic).”