Kashmir Martyr’s Day – 13th July, 1931
By Zaheerul Hassan
Kashmiris on both sides of the line of Control and across the world observe “Kashmir Martyrs’ Day” on July 13, every year. The day is commemorated in the memory of 21 Kashmiris who were shot dead, one after the other, outside the Srinagar Central jail by the troops of Dogra Maharaja, where they had gathered to attend the court proceedings against one, Abdul Qadeer, who was alleged for instigating Kashmiri people to defy Dogra rule.
One 19th April 1931, the Dogra DIG Chowdry Ram Chand stopped Imam Munshi Muhammad Ishaq from giving Eid Khutba (Sermon) in the Municipal Park of Jammu. The incident sparked off widespread protest demonstrations in Jammu city. Ban on Eid Sermon in Jammu was followed by desecration of the Holy Quran at the hands of Dogra troops, which further aggravated the situation throughout the State. In Srinagar, people gathered in Jamia Masjid Srinagar to denounce desecration act and demand severe punishment to the culprits,. While listening to speeches of Kashmiri leasers a youth Abdul Qadeer pointed his finger to the Maharaga’s palace and raised full-throated slogans “destroy its every brick”. He was immediately arrested on the charges of sedition. Later, he was to be tried in the court but due to possible public reaction, the court was shifted to Central Jail Srinagar. On 12th July, violent public demonstrations were held throughout the city against the shifting of the court to the Central jail, Srinagar.
On 13th July 1931, thousands of people thronged the central jail Srinagar to witness the in-camera trial of Abdul Qadeer. At Zuhar time, one of the youth stood up and started reciting “Azan’ for Zuhar prayer. He was killed by Dogra soldiers, next youth started the ‘Azan’ where it was left by the martyred youth. He was also killed and in process of completing the ‘Azan’ where it was left by the martyred youth. He was also killed and in process of completing the ‘Azan’ 21 youth were killed on after the other. This incident of brute killings is a black chapter in the history of Dogra regime. The people carried the dead and the injured with them, formed a procession and paraded the highways and streets of Srinagar, chanting slogans against Dogra brutalities. Complete strike was observed in the city, which was followed by weeklong mourning. This incident shook the whole state and the traffic from Srinagar to Rawalpindi and Srinagar to Jammu came to an halt from 13th to 26th July. Since then, the day is observed as Kashmir Martyr’s Day.
It was the result of the above episode that Kashmiri leadership realized the need to form a political party i.e. Muslims Conference (MC) with a view to wage struggle for their freedom. Later in 1934, States first elections were held and Muslim Conference won 16 out of 21 seats and after two years in 1936 it succeeded in getting 19 out of 21 seats. Indian Congress was upset with this result and tried to create division in the ranks of Kashmiri leadership. On 19 July 1947, MC after considering geographical proximity, majority of Muslim population (80%) religion language and cultural relations, passed resolution to merge Kashmir with Pakistan.
It’s heart-moving to observe that despite a period of 80 years, the Kashmiris are still struggling and sacrificing to achieve their alienable right under UN resolutions for the plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir Valley is one of the most heavily militarized regions in the world with 7 Lakh armed security forces, who indulge in indiscriminate killings forced disappearances, rapes and maiming innocent youth and women.
The data on atrocities by Indian security forces from January 1989 to 2012 and during the current year is as under.
From January 1989 to December 2012
(1) Total Killings – 93831
(2) Custodial Killings – 6996
(3) Arrests – 120506
(4) Structures destroyed / damaged – 105977
(5) Women Widowed – 22764
(6) Children orphaned – 107441
(7) Women gang-raped/molested – 10044
From 1 January to 15 June 2013
(1) Total Killings – 39
(2) Custodial Killings – 04
(3) Arrests – 897
(4) Structures destroyed / damaged – 03
(5) Women Widowed – 03
(6) Children orphaned – 09
(7) Women gang-raped/molested – 12