Friday, April 16, 2010

[ZESTCaste] “Declare Ambedkar birth anniversary ‘public’ holiday”

Published: April 16, 2010 02:17 IST | Updated: April 16, 2010 02:17
IST New Delhi, April 16, 2010

"Declare Ambedkar birth anniversary 'public' holiday"
J. Venkatesan

Manch seeks Prime Minister's intervention

Not satisfied with the Union government declaring Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's
birth anniversary as a "closed" holiday every year, the B.R. Ambedkar
Vikas Manch has sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to
declare the birth anniversary as a "public" holiday under the
Negotiable Instruments Act.

Manch general secretary R.K. Kain, in April 12 letter to Dr. Singh,
said: "This Manch has been striving hard since 1990 to declare
Ambedkar jayanti as a public holiday under Section 25 of the NI Act,
but only "closed" holiday is declared by the Department of Personnel
on year-to-year basis."

Alleging that the Centre was biased against Dr. Ambedkar, the Manch
said: "The birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, October 2, 1947, was declared
as a holiday when Gandhiji was alive. Even his portrait — painted by
Oswald Birley, a British artist in 1935 — was displayed in the Central
Hall of the Parliament House on August 28, 1947. All things have
happened against the moral and ethics and his teachings of Swadeshi
Andolan. The government declared Gandhi's birthday under Section 25 of
the NI Act without any demand from public or even from the Congress

Similarly, the birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar should also be
declared a public holiday under Section 25 of the NI Act without any
request to the government to extend it annually.

Reply to RTI activist
Meanwhile, in reply to Right to Information activist Subash Chandra
Agrawal's query why Dr. Ambedkar birth anniversary was not being
declared as a public holiday, the Centre said: "As per the existing
policy, the Central government offices observe 16 holidays in a year.
These include 3 national holidays, namely the Republic Day,
Independence Day and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday and remaining 13
holidays relate to religious and social occasions."

The Centre said: "Dr. Ambedkar's birthday is not one of the regular
holidays observed every year. As a policy also, birthday of no
national leader, except that of Mahatma Gandhi, is being observed as a
regular closed holiday. As an exception to this, the government has
earlier declared additional public holiday (also under the NI Act) on
the birth centenary of prominent leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak,
Guru Rabindranath Tagore, Lala Lajpat Rai, Gopal Krishna Gokhale,
Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, as also the
125th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, 99th birth anniversary
of Nehru and 89th birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar." However, since
1990, this occasion was being declared as a closed holiday without
being listed as a holiday for all Central government offices, the
reply said.


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