Jammu: Dressed to the nines, residents of Jammu on Friday took out parades across the city to celebrate the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Lieutenant Governor administration had recently declared the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh, which falls on September 23, as an annual holiday in the Union Territory.
The celebrations started with the great grandsons of Maharaja Hari Singh offering prayers at the Ranbeshwar temple in the city early in the morning.
“I want to congratulate the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the 127th birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh ji. Grant of holiday on his birth anniversary is a victory of all the people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the youth of Jammu,” grandson of Maharaja Hari Singh and former legislator Vikramaditya told reporters.
The celebrations by the Yuva Rajput Sabha (YRS) that began on Thursday night continued on Friday while people from all walks of life assembled at Tawi Bridge and Maharaja Hari Singh Park to pay tributes.
Adorning colourful turbans and holding flags of their organisation, several members of the Rajput community on two-wheelers, tractors, cars and even horses took out victory processions in the Ban Talab area of the city.
They raised slogans glorifying Maharaja Hari Singh and brandished swords as part of the celebrations.
“Our continuous agitation yielded results and the government has announced a holiday on the birth anniversary of the Maharaja after 75 years,” YRS leader Arjun Singh said.
The Kashmir-based political parties, which have largely ruled the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, were opposed to the public holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh, who signed the instrument of accession with the republic of India on October 26, 1947, he said.
At the Tawi bridge, the BJP leadership led by its president, Ravinder Raina danced to tunes of drum beats amid slogans of ‘Maharaja Hari Singh amar rahe’. Sweets were also distributed among the people while medical camps were organised at several places in the city.
“It is victory of people. It is justice done. We congratulate the people of J&K, particularly Yuva Rajputs for their fight,” Raina yold reporters.
Congress party led by its working president Raman Bhalla also took part in the celebrations and asserted that it was time for the central government to fulfil another demand of restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood.
Former minister and MP Choudhary Lal Singh also took out victory rally and said it was time to fight for restoring Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood.
A group of displaced Kashmir Pandits took out a rally in Muthi area and raised pro-Maharaja slogans.
Similar celebrations were also held in Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar and Rajouri districts.
In Kathua, some public transporters offered free travel to passengers as a tribute to the Maharaja. PTI