Press Trust of india

Martyrs’ Day: Jammu lawyers stage protest, Kashmiri Pandit migrants observe ‘black day’

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Jammu, Jul 13 The Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHBA) today staged a demonstration demanding the abolishment of the Martyrs’ Day holiday, while Kashmiri Pandit migrants observed a ‘black day’.

Martyrs’ Day is observed in Jammu and Kashmir on July 13 every year to remember the people who were killed in firing by soldiers of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh on this day in 1931 during protests against his autocratic rule.

The JHBA lawyers organised a a free legal consultancy camp at the High Court complex here in defiance of the state holiday.

The lawyers held black banners reading “No Martyr’s Day”, “Not our holiday” and “It is our working day”.

Alleging that the incident of July 13, 1931, had not been portrayed right, Jammu Bar president B S Slathia appealed the Governor N N Vohra to declare July 13 a working day.

“As part of a conspiracy against the then Maharaja, who had favoured independence of India, some communal elements made an attempt on this day in 1931 to scare away the Kashmiri Pandits at the behest of the British rulers,” Slathia alleged.

Panun Kashmir, an organisation representing Kashmiri Pandit migrants, said the community observed the holiday as “black day” as it was a reminder of large-scale arson, loot and sectarian carnage against minority Hindus.

“The seeds of genocide and ethnic cleansing of the community from the Valley were sown on this day,” a spokesperson of Panun Kashmir said.

The organisation also urged the government to abolish the public holiday.

Meanwhile, in a ceremony organised at the party headquarters here to commemorate the Martyrs’ Day, the National Conference (NC) pledged to work for strengthening the democracy and promoting the spirit of unity and communal amity in Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing the party workers, NC state secretary Rattan Lal Gupta said the best way to pay a tribute to the martyrs’ was by strengthening the democracy and secularism in the state.

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