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The Uttarakhand movement refers to the events of statehood activism within the undivided state of Uttar Pradesh which ultimately resulted in the formation of Uttarakhand, India as a separate state.[1]

The demand to make Uttarakhand a state was first raised at a special session of the Indian National Congress held in Srinagar between 5 and 6 May 1938. The movement gained traction and by 1994, the demand for a separate state eventually took the form of a mass movement that resulted in the formation of India's 27th state on 9th November 2000.

Jeet Bahadur Gurung became the first martyr in Pauri on 8 August 1994.

Cause of Genesis

The region of present day Uttarakhand consists of the administrative divisions Garhwal and kumaon, which had upto the entry of the British Raj in the region, been ruled by various local kings and chieftains.

Much of the Garhwal and Kumaon Kingdoms were invaded by the expansionist Gorkha Regime in the later quarter if the 18th century. The marked the beginning of the exploitative "Twelve-Year-Rule" in the state.[2] Soon after the rulers of Garhwal took the help of the British forces in India to regain their kingdom. The Gorkha rule in Kumaon and Garhwal came to an end after the Anglo-Nepalese War where Kumaon and Garhwal were ceded to the British as part of the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816. Following which the Raj made half of Garhwal (Tehri) into a subsidiary princely state, and the rest of Garhwal along with Kumaon was made part of the United Province of Agra and Oudh. In Tehri, the monarchy persisted until the Indian Independence after which it became am integral part of Independent India.

Some of the more noteable proto-statehood movements arose as self-governance moments against the monarchy (as in Tehri) or as part of the wider Indian Freedom Struggle against the British Raj. Some of the first demands of statehood in pre-Independent India arose from alleged administrative neglect as part of the larger United Province, due to the impaired accessibility of the region. Some prominent figures of the anti-monarchy movement like Sridev Suman became popular figures in the post-independence Statehood struggle.

Movement Timeline

Instances of violence

Khatima firing case

On 1 September 1994, police opened fire on activists that resulted in the death of seven activists. This resulted in anger and mass agitation of people and students. Vijay Joshi S/o BB Joshi from Tanakpur intensified till 1995 and led a mass rally from Kumaon hills, Muzaffarnagar, Kotdwar to Delhi.

Mussoorie firing case

On 2 September 1994, to protest against the police action in the Khatima firing, a march was taken out in Mussoorie. At Jhulaghar, the constabulary opened fire on protestors leading to the death of Belmati Chauhan, Hansa Dhanai, Balbir Singh, Rai Singh Bangari, Madan Mamgain and Dhanpat Singh and Circle Officer Uma Kant Tripathi. Apart from them, eighteen people were treated for bullet injuries.

Rampur Tiraha (Muzaffarnagar) firing case

Main article: Rampur Tiraha firing case

The activists, part of the agitation for the separate state of Uttarakhand, were going to Delhi to stage a dharna, a sit-in protest at Raj Ghat on Gandhi Jayanti. The following day, when allegedly unprovoked police firing during the night of 1 October led to the death of six activists, and some women were allegedly brutally raped and molested in the ensuing melee. Mulayam Singh Yadav was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh when the incident occurred. Eight policemen, including three Inspectors, were proven guilty and prosecuted in the resulting case.[6]

Dehradun firing case

The incident occurred on 3 October 1994 in Muzaffarnagar near Dehradun. The people were expected to be fierce. The situation following the funeral of Martyr Late Ravindra Rawat resulted in fierce battles between the police and protesters in the entire Dehradun. The police who were already prepared to suppress the uprising in any eventuality resorted to firing, which killed three people.

Late Rajesh Rawat's death was alleged to have been a result of firing from the house of then Samajwadi Party leader Suryakant Dhasmana.

Kotdwar case

On 3 October 1994, the whole of Uttarakhand was boiled in protest against the Rampur Tiraha incident and the police administration was ready to suppress it by any means. In this episode, there was also a movement in Kotdwar, in which two agitators were beaten to death by policemen with rifle butt strokes and sticks.[3]

Nainital firing case

The protest was at its peak in Nainital too, but due to its leadership being in the hands of intellectuals, the police could not do anything, but they took out their anger on Pratap Singh, who worked in Hotel Pacific. RAF soldiers pulled him from the hotel and when he ran towards the hotel Meghdoot to escape, he was shot in the neck and killed.

Sriyantra Tapu (Srinagar) case

Activists started fast unto death on 7 November 1994, at Sriyantra Tapu situated near Srinagar, against these repressive actions and for the demand for the formation of a new state Uttarakhand. On 10 November 1994, the police climbed the island and caused havoc. Many people were injured badly. In the series of events, police attacked two young men using the lathi and hit them with the butt strokes of their guns. Police then threw those men into the river Alaknanda and hit them repeatedly with stones, resulting in the death of both activists.

Their bodies were not recovered by police for 15 days. The chairman of the ex-serviceman group (Virendra Prasad Kukshal) heard about the incident he began fast unto death for 7 days, due to this Government agencies started the search and recovered the bodies. On 14 November 1994, the two dead bodies were found floating in the Alaknanda River near Bagwan.

Notable figures

P.C. Joshi

P.C. Joshi, a minister of the Communist Party, demanded from the Indian government establishment of a separate state of the basis of geographical and cultural differences. This plea brought forth a discussion on statehood while also taking into account the Karachi session (1931), wherein Jawahar Lal Nehru had also given his consent to a state separation.

Indramani Badoni

Often referred to as the "Mountain Gandhi", Indramani Badoni was at the forefront of the movement in Garhwal. In 1994, Badoni began a fast unto death in Pauri to demand a separate Uttarakhand state and was subsequently put in Muzaffarnagar jail.

See also


  1. ^ Bisht, Brijmohan (26 March 2013). "Uttarakhand History - Milestones that lead the formation of Uttarakhand". Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  2. ^ Chakrabarti, B.K. (2016), "Garhwal–Kumaon Himalaya", Geology of the Himalayan Belt, Elsevier, pp. 77–87, retrieved 1 February 2024
  3. ^ a b c Rajiv Srivastava (17 November 2011). "Hill state was carved out after 70 yrs of struggle | Lucknow News". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Angry Hills: An Uttarakhand state of mind". November 1994.
  5. ^ "Parties mum on raising OBC quota in govt jobs". 28 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Rampur Tiraha firing case". Retrieved 4 January 2021.