Jammu, January 21:

Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik has issued a diktat to state government employees to be present during Republic Day celebrations, adding that failing to attend the events would count as “dereliction of duty” and “disobedience of government instructions”.

“All government officers and officials posted at Jammu and Srinagar are required to attend the celebrations, as part of their official duty,” the order dated 15 January read. “It is the duty of every government servant to attend the Republic Day function, which marks an important turning point in the history of the nation.”

The government also directed all top officials of the state, such as administrative secretaries and heads of departments, to ensure that their staff stations at Srinagar and Jammu attend the functions.

However, Governor Satya Pal Malik’s order was not well received by political parties in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Nationalism can never be dictated. There should be ‘will’ for such events not forced diktats. This clears how things happen and are happening in the ‘integral’ part. Patriotism can’t be enforced it should be inherent, tweeted Peoples Democratic Party leader Waheed Ur Rehman.

Independent MLA and leader of the regional Awami Itehad Party Engineer Rashid said the order was “unconstitutional” and that nationalism cannot be imposed on government staff, TimesNow reported.

BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, on the other hand said only “separatists” were opposed to the order, and that parties were trying to politicise the matter as the elections are around the corner.

“In the valley, there are politicians and certain parties who say something else when in power and side with separatists when out of power,” he claimed, according to TimesNow.

In its diktat, the administration has given the responsibility of transportation to 26 January functions to the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation Limited and Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation.

The official Republic Day celebrations will take place at the University of Jammu, where the governor will preside over the event, and at the Sher-i-Kashmir stadium in Srinagar.