J&K – The issues around the state

Explained: The two holidays scrapped in Jammu and Kashmir

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Read the attached story

Mains level : Abrogation of Art. 370 and its aftermath

The Govt. in J&K has cancelled two existing public holidays and introduced a new one. This is seen by some as a move against their own assertion of their religious identity.

The three holidays

  • The government order has cancelled public holidays on December 5 and July 13.
  • December 5 is commemorated as the birth anniversary of Sheikh Mohd Abdullah, National Conference founder, former J&K Prime Minister, and former Chief Minister.
  • July 13 is observed as Martyrs’ Day in Jammu and Kashmir. On that date in 1931, 22 Kashmiris were killed outside the Srinagar Central Jail, where they had assembled to protest against autocratic Dogra rulers.
  • The new holiday is on October 26, the date in 1947 when the former state of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to the Dominion of India.
  • A day later, Indian troops reached Srinagar to drive out tribal raiders. October 27 is observed as a Black Day in Kashmir, marked with a shutdown.

History & significance

  • In 1846, under the Treaty of Amritsar, the British sold J&K state to the Dogra king Maharaja Gulab Singh.
  • The Dogras hailed from Jammu and their rule lasted for over a century.
  • In 1931, Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir rose against the autocracy of Dogra rule.
  • The uprising, which led to the killing of 22 Muslims, is seen as the first assertion of Muslim identity in Jammu and Kashmir.

Implications of the move

  • The move is seen as a departure from the politics of Jammu and Kashmir since 1939.
  • Many people see this as an effort to erase the role of Sheikh Abdullah, and J&K’s Muslim assertion.
  • They see it also as a refusal to recognise Kashmir’s popular Muslim leaders who sided with India in 1947, and leaders who continue to identify with India.
  • It also raises a question mark over the revival of a political process in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The move comes when normalcy is yet to return even five months after the abrogation.
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