‘The 72-Year Old Tradition Abandoned for the first time in the history of Kashmir’
Srinagar: In a first no official event was held this time in order to pay the homage to the martyrs’ of 13 July, 1931. The day is celebrated every year in the memory of those killed by the hands of Dogra ruler, Shri Maharaja Hari Singh. The stripping of Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood and particular constitutional standing has additionally put a finish to the 72-year lengthy custom for the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.
The people of Kashmir consider July 13 as the beginning of their movement for liberation from foreign rule. As on this day in 1931, at least twenty two Kashmiri men were shot dead outside the Central Jail in Srinagar, where Abdul Qadeer Khan, believed to be a resident of Swat region in now Pakistan was being tried for treason and incitement to violence.
In a speech delivered in June 1931, Khan, a domestic help of a British army officer, had deplored alleged sacrilege of the holy Quran by Singh’s soldiers and asked people to rise in revolt.
A semi-armoured vehicle along with a Police vehicle stood outside the gate of the shrine which was locked. Scores of police and paramilitary soldiers were patrolling in the nearby areas of the shrine and media was not allowed to shoot videos or report from the venue.
Apart from the official program in the martyrs’’ cemetery, leaders of mainstream political parties also used to pay homage to the twenty two Kashmiri martyrs’ who protested against the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh and were killed in the firing of Dogra army since 1948.
This year no mainstream leader was allowed to reach the martyrs’ cemetery on Monday and due to the stringent regulations imposed by the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory administration in most parts of Kashmir. As the strict lockdown was witnessed in the parts of Kashmir Valley in order to contain the spread of Corona virus infection.
Last year on August 5, the Centre repealed most of the provisions of Article 370, the National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah’s birth anniversary on December 5, as well as the July 13 holiday, was removed from it.
The J&K administration removed the July 13 and December 5 gazetted holidays in their annual official calendar of Jammu and Kashmir which could be the reason for not holding any ceremony at the martyrs’ cemetery.
The regional powers in Jammu and Kashmir including the National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) paid glowing tribute to the martyrs’ of 1931.
While talking to Kashmir Glacier, one of the prominent leader of National Conference said, “The Permission was sought for visiting the martyrs’ cemetery to pay the homage to 1931 martyrs’ but unfortunately no response was received from the district administration.”
However National Conference on its official Twitter handle tweeted, “J&K will never forget valour, determination and sacrifice of July 13 Martyrs’.”
The senior leader and Member of Parliament from Srinagar LokSabha constituency Farooq Abdullah said, “This day is a day to celebrate the identity of Jammu Kashmir and the rights of the people here.”
National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah while paying tribute to the martyrs’ said, “This day is a day of collective retaliation against the oppressors”. This day can never be forgotten. (Kashmir Glacier)
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