Altaf Hamid Rao;
MIRPUR (AJK): People across Azad Jammu & Kashmir and rest of the world observed the 87th Kashmir Martyrs Day on Friday with the renewal of the pledge to continue the mission of the Kashmiri martyrs through continuing the freedom struggle, with full vigor, for the achievement of the birth right of self determination and for the liberation of occupied Jammu & Kashmir from the tyrannical Indian rule.
Symposia and meetings were the hallmark of the Kashmir Martyrs Day across Azad Jammu & Kashmir as well as at various places in the curfew-claimed Indian occupied Kashmir valley and rest of the world to observe the day.
It was on this day in 1931 when the Dogra troops had shot dead 22 Kashmiris in front of the Central Jail Srinagar. A large number of people had gathered outside the jail protesting against the trial of a young man – Abdul Qadeer for treason inside the prison.
In Azad Jammu Kashmir, it was a state holiday to facilitate the people to participate in the events of the day from allover the liberated territory. This year, the Kashmir Martyrs Day was flanked by a sign of a new hope, that if India agrees to the ground realities without any reservations and learns a lesson from the historical facts that she (New Delhi) can not rule Kashmiris by force, may help bring a lasting peace and prosperity in the region through the early peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue in line with the aspirations of the people of entire Jammu & Kashmir.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir from both sides of the LoC have attached great hopes for the early settlement of the much-delayed Kashmir problem in line with the wishes of its basic stake-holders – the people of Jammu & Kashmir through peaceful means by both India and Pakistan under the spirit of the international norms and commitments especially through an internationally committed plebiscite under the United Nations resolutions.
Despite the ongoing hectic electioneering to the scheduled July 21 AJK elections, people from all walks of life held special prayer meeting besides staging rallies and seminars to pay rich tributes to Kashmiri martyrs were held at various places in AJK to mark the day.
Special Kashmir Martyrs Day meetings were held at almost all the district and tehsil head quarters including Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Bagh, Rawalakot, Sudhanoti, Neelam valley, Haveili, Hattiyan and Bhimbher and all other small and major towns and cities under the spirit of various social, political and religious Kashmiri outfits besides the civil society belonging to all spheres of life including the business community, lawyers and the media groups in various parts of the state.
Addressing these special functions speakers paid rich tributes to the Kashmiris martyrs of 1931 who were gunned down by the then dogra rulers outside the Central Jail Srinagar for raising voice for the liberation of the motherland from the Dogra yoke.
Speakers strongly condemned the continued state violence unleashed by the Indian occupational forces in Srinagar and rest of the bleeding occupied valley since last two years where hundreds of innocent Kashmiris including the young Commander of Hisb ul Mujahideen Burhan Muzaffar Wani were martyred since July 8 in 2016 for raising voice for the liberation of the motherland from Indian clutches. They paid glorious tributes shaheed Burhan and other kashmiri martyrs for laying down the supreme sacrifices of their lives for the noble cause of freedom from the forcible Indian bondages.
HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DAY IN MILIEU:
The Kashmir Martyrs’ Day, or Youme Shuhada-e-Kashmir is observed on July 13 every year not only on both sides of the Line of Control but also all over the world by the Kashmiris to pay homage to 22 Kashmiris who were martyred in 1931 to free Kashmir from the brutalities of despotic Dogra rulers. The tragic day is the milestone in the advent of the Kashmiris struggle against foreign occupation which still continues under the Indian alien rule.
The history of Dogra rule (1846-1947) in Kashmir is replete with brutal treatment, perpetrated on the Kashmiri Muslims by Dogra forces. Under their rule, the life was made so terrible and miserable for the Muslims that it was difficult to differentiate them from beasts. Slave labour, heavy taxes, capital punishment for cow slaughter, and living under constant state-terror was order of the day.
On July 13, 1931, thousands of people crowded the Central Jail, Srinagar, to witness the in-camera trial of Abdul Qadeer. As the time for obligatory prayer approached, a young Kashmiri stood for azan. The Dogra Governor, Ray Zada Tartilok Chand ordered soldiers to open fire at him. When he got martyred, another young man took his place and resumed the Azan from the verse it was broken following the martyrdom of first Kashmiri speaker of the Azan. He was also shot dead. In this way, 22 Kashmiris embraced martyrdom in their efforts to complete the azan.
The people carried the dead and paraded through the streets of Srinagar, chanting slogans against Dogra brutalities. Complete strike was observed in the city, which was followed by weeklong mourning. This tragic incident shook the whole state and the traffic from Srinagar to Rawalpindi and Srinagar to Jammu came to halt from July 13 to 26, 1931. The 22 martyrs are buried in Martyrs’ Graveyard at Khawaja Bazar,Srinagar.
The atrocities against the Kashmiri Muslims did not stop even after the partition of the sub continent or United Hindustan. The human rights record of Indian government in the Indian-occupied Kashmir has been terrible and is characterized by arbitrary arrests, torture, rape and extrajudicial killings.
Since 1989 when liberation of Kashmir entered a new phase, Indian military troops have been using all inhuman tactics of ethnic cleansing to disturb the majority population of the Kashmiris.
Today’s Kashmir presents the worst possible case of state terrorism where Indian forces threaten to eliminate entire masses engaged in demanding implementation of the UN resolutions. Various methods of state terrorism such as breaking the leg, burning of a village, custodial killings, etc., are mercilessly used against the innocent Kashmirirs, demanding their legitimate right of freedom. More than half of a million Jammu & Kashmir people have been massacred by the Indian military troops and security agencies so far during last 70 years.
Nonetheless, observance of Kashmiris’ freedom struggle on the Kashmir Martyrs’ Day on July 13, every year is reaffirmation of the fact that Kashmiris will continue to fight against Indian illegitimate occupation.