Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress, on Monday, pitched in for restoration of the state's special status along with the revival of Article 370 of the Constitution, terming it as the best tribute to the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.
"The best tribute on this day to Maharaja Hari Singh would have been to immediately restore the status, full powers and other constitutional structure of Jammu and Kashmir state with constitutional safeguards of the rights over lands and employment and other opportunities for the people of the state," said former MLC and chief spokesperson of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee Ravinder Sharma.
Sharma raised the demand while bitterly criticising the Centre for bifurcating J&K into two union territories after revoking its special status and nullifying Article 370.
Addressing a function to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Maharaja at Sunderbani in Rajouri district, Sharma lamented that the state has been bifurcated and disbanded into a "powerless institution of UT".
He said the unfortunate move has affected the identity, powers and rights of the people in many ways.
"The institution of chief minister, ministers and legislators have been lowered in terms of status, power, structure and functioning which has ultimately deprived the people of their valuable rights and powers," he said.
Remembering Maharaja Hari Singh and his contributions to the development of the state, Sharma said he was the most progressive, secular and nationalist ruler of the princely state and fought against the supremacy of the Britishers and acceded to India as the last ruler of the state.
"Maharaja had introduced several progressive and welfare programmes in the state which showed his statesmanship. He prohibited child marriage, opened temple for all downtrodden sections and enacted the state subject law to protect the culture, identity and interests of the people of his State," he said.
The meeting passed a resolution demanding holiday on the birthday of Maharaja in view of his contributions and the sentiments of a large number of people of the state.
The BJP, Jammu Bar Association and other various political and social organisations also held separate functions and shed light on the life of Maharaja while paying rich tributes to him. At a function, the BJP leaders vowed to carry forward his values of secularism, gender equation, women education and justice for all, a party spokesman said....