Jammu: The birth anniversary of Maharaj Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, was celebrated with pomp in Jammu on Friday as people took out processions across the city. The administration of the Lieutenant Governor has recently declared a holiday in the Union Territory on the birth anniversary of Maharaj Hari Singh. His birth anniversary falls on 23 September. Hari Singh's great-grandson offered prayers at the Ranbireshwar temple on Friday morning, marking the beginning of the celebrations. Vikramaditya, a former member of the Legislative Council, told reporters, “I would like to congratulate the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the 127th birth anniversary of Maharaj Hari Singh Ji. Giving a holiday on his birth anniversary is a victory for all the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the youth of Jammu. The Yuva Rajput Sabha (YRS) also started celebrating the birth anniversary on Thursday night which continued till Friday as people from all sections of the society gathered at Tawi Pul and Maharaj Hari Singh Park to pay their respects to the late Maharaj.
People of the Rajput community, wearing colorful turbans and carrying the flag of their organization, took out a victory procession on two-wheelers, tractors, cars, and horses in the Ban Talab area. They raised slogans glorifying Hari Singh and waved swords. YRS leader Arjun Singh said, “Our sustained agitation has yielded results and the government has declared a holiday on Maharaj’s birth anniversary.” He said that the political parties of Kashmir, which ruled the erstwhile full state, had opposed giving a holiday on the birth anniversary of Hari Singh. Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Ravinder Raina and other leaders danced to the beat of drums amidst the slogans of Maharaj Hari Singh Amar Rahe at Tawi Bridge.
Raina told reporters, “It is a victory for the people. Justice has been done. We congratulate the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the young Rajputs, for their fight. The Congress, led by its working president Raman Bhalla, participated in the celebrations and said that the time has come for the central government to fulfill the other demand for restoration of full statehood of Jammu and Kashmir. Former minister and MP Chaudhary Lal Singh also took out a victory rally and said that it is time to fight for the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. A group of displaced Kashmiri Pandits took out a rally in the Muthi area and raised slogans in support of Maharaj. The birth anniversary was also celebrated in Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, and Rajouri districts.