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Sheikh Abdullah’s image removed from police medals in J&K

A bust picture of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. File

A bust picture of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

Political parties in Jammu & Kashmir on Tuesday expressed outrage over the Lieutenant-Governor-led administration’s decision to replace the image of National Conference (NC) founder and the first elected Prime Minister of the then princely State of J&K, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, with the national emblem, in police medals from this year.

Scores of NC leaders posted with the hashtag “ShereKashmirliveson” on Twitter to protest against the L-G administration’s move to drop senior Abdullah’s name and face from the police medals.

“Efforts [are being] made to tamper with the rich history of Kashmir. Dropping Sher-e-Kashmir’s name from the gallantry awards in the absence of an elected government would mean imposing laws without the consent of the people, which in a democracy is unacceptable,” NC spokesperson Sarah Hayat Shah said.

Participating in the party’s Twitter storm, Tanvir Sadiq, another NC leader, posted late American President John F. Kennedy’s famous quote: “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”

“Sher-e-Kashmir is not just a prefix that you can erase. Sher-e-Kashmir was, is and will always be the only Sher-e-Kashmir,” Mr. Sadiq said.

Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Naeem Akhtar condemned the move. “Sheikh Abdullah is another Aurangzeb [for the BJP]. The man without whom Kashmir may not have acceded to India ‘demonetised’, as the Sher-i-Kashmir is replaced with the national emblem,” Mr. Akhtar said.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said it showed the “narrow-mindedness of the rulers”. “It was the Sheikh who took the big and bold decision to accede to secular India in opposition to the two-nation theory. And the same name is now being erased,” she said.  

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader M. Y. Tarigami said the “BJP’s Panglossian view of rewriting history by name changing” may favour its narrow communal agenda but would not absolve its complicity from the annals of history. “You cannot erase the contributions and historical significance of Sher-i-Kashmir by petty name changing gimmicks,” he said.

The L-G administration on Monday announced that Para 4 of the Jammu & Kashmir Police Medal Scheme had been modified and the “Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah” embossed on one side of the medal shall be replaced with the “National Emblem of Government of India”. The J&K State Emblem inscribed on the other side would now have the inscription “Jammu and Kashmir Police Medal for Gallantry” and “Jammu and Kashmir Police Medal for Meritorious Service”.

In 2020, the administration had dropped Sheikh Abdullah’s birth anniversary from the list of holidays and removed his title ‘Sher-i-Kashmir’ from the police awards.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 5:08:26 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sheikh-abdullahs-image-removed-from-police-medals-in-jk/article65456578.ece