Today: Jun 17, 2024

No function held to mark Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir

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Srinagar: For the third consecutive year, no function was held to commemorate the Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir to pay homage to 22 Kashmiri people who were killed by the army of a Dogra ruler on this day in 1931, officials said on Wednesday.

July 13 was a public holiday in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and a grand official function was held every year on this day where the chief minister or the governor would be the chief guest.

However, the administration dropped the day from the list of gazetted holidays in 2020, after the abrogation of Article 370 and splitting of the erstwhile state into two union territories by the Centre on August 05, 2019.

No function was held at the Martyrs’ graveyard in the city while no holiday was observed for the third time on Wednesday, the officials said.

Apart from the official function at the Martyrs’ graveyard, mainstream political leaders also used to visit it to pay homage to the 22 Kashmiris who fell to the bullets of the Dogra army while protesting the autocratic rule of Maharaja Hari Singh.

However, the officials said, this year no mainstream political leader visited the graveyard. They added that there were no restrictions on the movement of people.

“The historic event of martyrdom of July 13, 1931 – when 22 Kashmiris were killed by the army of a Dogra ruler – can never be erased from history,” the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) said in a statement.

The PAGD also appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to unitedly raise their voice for a better future and dignified life.

The alliance of six mainstream political parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said on this day, 91 years ago, 22 brave souls protesting against the “tyranny of the autocracy were martyred”.

“This historic event had shaken the foundations of the then oppressive power structure. This unprecedented incident proved to be a milestone in the long road of the people’s struggle for justice. Thus it marked the beginning of the mass awakening in Kashmir. The barbaric killings of protesters shocked and infuriated the people who challenged the autocratic rule,” PAGD spokesman M Y Tarigami said in the statement.

He said the uprising against the “tyranny and autocratic ruler” laid a strong edifice for unifying the people, rising above narrow considerations that finally culminated in initiating a process of their empowerment.

“The supreme sacrifices by the martyrs led to the dawning of a new era in the region,” he said, adding, the historic event can never be erased.

“Despite brazen assault on legitimate constitutional rights and suppression of civil liberties, democratic rights, curbing the media, indiscriminate arrests of political activists and youth under draconian laws like UAPA, PSA, people cannot be silenced for long,” Tarigami said.

Separately, the National Conference said it had applied to the Srinagar district magistrate for permission to visit the graveyard for paying tributes to the martyrs of 1931 but it was not allowed.

The party decried the “dilly-dallying tactics” of the administration on not allowing its leaders to offer prayers and floral tributes at ‘Mazar-e-Shuhada’ on Martyrs’ Day, NC spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said.

He said the office of the party’s general secretary had sought permission from the administration for visiting the graveyard at Khawaja Bazar here for offering prayers and floral tributes but no communication from the side of the administration was received.

In a statement issued here, NC president and Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah and party vice-president Omar Abdullah paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of 1931, calling the day a landmark in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.

Taking to Twitter, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Mehbooba Mufti also paid “glowing tributes to the heroes of 13th July, 1931”.

“Those martyrs with their blood wrote a new chapter in the history of J&K which created an urge among the people for freedom & dignity. As we pay homage we also reiterate our resolve to strive for restoration of J&K’s dignity,” the party tweeted.

Peoples’ Conference leaders on Wednesday paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of 13th July 1931. While paying tributes the party pledged to carry forward their sacred struggle for empowering the traditionally disempowered Kashmiris and make them the master of their own destiny.

“The movement against the monarchy was started and led by the people of Kashmir, who immortalised their courageous fight by rendering the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. Their valiant struggle in 1931 was for change and for the empowerment and dignity of Kashmiris. The dream of Change that Peoples’ Conference stands committed to is inspired from the spirit of Change that was nurtured and sown by the martyrs in 1931″, the statement said.

The leaders further stated that the sacrifices of martyrs of 13 July would continue to inspire people of J&K to fight for their democratic rights, dignity and justice.

Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also paid glorious tributes to the martyrs of 1931 on their 91st anniversary, today.

According to a statement issued here, Bukhari while paying tributes to the martyrs of July 13, 1931, said, “This day reminds us of the sacrifices of our ancestors who laid their lives while fighting the autocracy. Those who were gunned down by the Dogra soldiers wanted democracy here. They fought the rulers because they did not want to live like slaves on their own land. We can never forget the sacrifices of these martyrs. This day is the most significant day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.”

He added, “Apni Party upholds the mission of these martyrs even today in terms of our fight for the restoration of democracy and democratic institutions in Jammu and Kashmir.”