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J&K Parties Slam Removal of Title ‘Sher’ from SKICC

Anees Zargar |
Regional politicians termed the move as another attempt to serve a specific agenda. 
J&K Parties Slam Removal of Title ‘Sher’ from SKICC

Image Courtesy: The Indian Express

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir’s (J&K) opposition political parties have slammed the administration’s decision to remove the title ‘Sher’ a reference to the late JKNC founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah—from the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) title from the official communications.

The change in the name of SKICC, a prominent convention centre situated on the banks of Dal Lake, was proposed in 2020 but no official order was issued. Abdullah, J&K’s first Prime Minister from 1948 to 1953 and chief minister from 1975 until his death in 1982, was known as ‘Sher’ in the region.

Several political leaders expressed disappointment on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, terming the move as another attempt to serve a specific agenda. 

This airdropped government’s unwavering determination to obliterate the history of J&K continues to amaze me. Someone needs to convey them that the name Sher-e-Kashmir will forever remain deeply ingrained in our hearts, regardless of their actions,” JKNC spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar tweeted. 

CPI(M) Central Committee member and former MLA MY Tarigami slammed the decision as a move to ‘wipe out’ J&K’s history when the government should focus on issues like unemployment and price rise. 

Removing the title ‘Sher’ from the name of Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) reflects that the government is more serious about obliterating the history of J&K than addressing the pressing issues like unemployment, health care, price rise and other such problems. The government is making unceasing attempts to do away with certain aspects of history by rechristening important roads and buildings,” he tweeted.

JKNC leaders said that the administration chose to drop Abdullah’s name only days after the Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud praised his foresightedness and vision.

Quoting a part of Abdullah’s speech in the Constituent Assembly during the hearing of the abrogation of Article 370, the CJI said, “Interestingly, see how Sheikh Abdullah puts it. He says the most powerful argument which can be advanced in her (Pakistan) favour is that Pakistan is a Muslim state and a big majority of our people being Muslim, the state must accede to Pakistan.”

Abdullah added: “This claim of being a Muslim state is only a camouflage—it’s a screen to dupe the common man so that he cannot see clearly that Pakistan is a feudal state in which a clique is trying by these methods to maintain itself in power.”

JKNC south Kashmir zone president and former J&K Legislative Council member Dr Veeri tweeted: “Chief Justice of India acknowledged stature of Sher i Kashmir & said, “He had a vision 70 years ago in 1951 which the world is talking about today.” However, hatred of RSS/BJP admin in Kashmir is such that they dropped his name from SKICC, the convention centre built by him.”

Following the abrogation of Article 370, of which Abdullah was one of the architects, the BJP government has introduced many changes, including the removal of his birth anniversary from the list of official holidays and his image embossed on police medals for gallantry and meritorious service. 

J&K’s mainstream political parties, seen as a bulwark against the separatist leadership, mostly drew inspiration from Abdullah, who chose to ally with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru instead of Pakistan’s founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah during the Partition.

There are several other state institutes named after Abdullah, including Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology and the premier healthcare facility of Sher-i- Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS). 

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