Srinagar, Martyrs graveyard, Dogra rule
Paramilitary forces and J&K Police sealed all roads leading to the martyr’s graveyard downtown Srinagar on Tuesday to prevent political leaders and common people assemble there to commemorate the killing of 22 Kashmiris in police firing on this day in 1931 while they were protesting against the Dogra rule in Jammu and Kashmir.
None of the top leaders and former chief ministers, including Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti was allowed to go to the Naqashband Sahib shrine near Nowhatta to pay respect at the graveyard of the martyrs. Most leaders took to social media to offer tributes to the martyrs and held meetings in their respective party offices for this purpose.
Leaders of mainstream political parties in Kashmir accused the government of imposing restrictions on Martyr’s Day to prevent them from going to the Mazar-e-Shohda where a function is held every year since 1948 in memory of those who revolted against the Dogra rule.
Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, at a function held at the National Conference (NC) headquarters in Srinagar, paid glowing tributes to the martyrs calling the day a landmark in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.
The NC leaders said that the heroes who laid their lives have inspired millions to live with dignity. “July 13, 1931, marks the assertion of J&K’s identity and rights of its people. The martyrs of July 13 will continue to be a beacon of light for us and for the coming generations”.
PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti, while paying tributes, said that on Martyr’s day, gates leading to their graveyards have been locked up. Attempts to distort and rewrite Kashmir`s history is being done to create a sense of defeat and helplessness amongst Kashmiris.
“Nevertheless, as we pay homage to the heroes of 13th July 1931, our resolve to strive for the restoration of J&K’s dignity remains firm,” she said.
Party’s chief spokesperson Suhail Bukhari said that while we are barred from even offering fateha to our martyrs, no amount of coercion can take them, their memory, their respect and their contribution out of our hearts.
“Attempts to rewrite our history by reworking official calendars cannot change our history. Our history and our heroes live in our hearts. The collective memory of a nation can’t be erased. Though the incident happened in 1931 the fact remains that even 2021 feels like 1931. Our martyrs inspire us in our struggle for our identity and rights,” Bukhari said.
The J&K Apni Party and People’s Conference also paid tributes to the martyrs.
13 July was a public holiday in the erstwhile J&K state and an official function used to be held at the martyr’s graveyard. However, the holiday was cancelled last year after the abrogation of Article 370.