The day we can't forget
Today we remember our martyrs
JULY 13 BY ER. BILAL AHMAD
Youme Shuhada-e-Kashmir (Martyrs’ Day) is observed on July 13 every year on both sides of the Line of Control and 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 day is the milestone in the history of Kashmiri struggle.
The history of Dogra rule (1846-1947) in Kashmir is replete with tyrannous treatment, meted out to the Kashmiri Muslims by Dogra forces. Under the Dogra rule, they were leading so miserable life that it was difficult to differentiate them from beasts. Slave labour, heavy taxes, capital punishment for cow slaughter, and living under constant terror was order of the day.
In this connection, Yousaf Saraf in his book, ‘Kashmiris Fight for Freedom’ calls it “free forced labour” and “instead of donkeys and horses, Kashmiri Muslims were used for transportation of goods across the far-flung areas”.
Atrocities of the Dogra regime could also be judged from the book of Sir Walter Lawrence, ‘The India We Served’. While describing the pathetic picture of the Kashmiris, he remarks, “army was employed in forcing the villagers to plough and sow, and worse still, the soldiers came at harvest time and when the share of the state had been seized” and “there was very little grain to tide the unfortunate peasants over the cruel winter.”
Under that tyrannical regime, political rights could not be imagined; even the religious rights had been snatched away from the Muslims of the state.
On April 19, 1931, the ban of Eid Khutba ignited widespread demonstrations in the Jummu city for a number of days. It was followed by desecration of the Holy Qur’an at the hands of Dogra forces, which resulted into outrage among the Muslims throughout the state. In Srinagar, people gathered in Jamia Masjid to denounce this blasphemy. One such get-together was held in Khankah-e-Muella Srinagar, which was addressed by prominent Kashmiris. When the meeting was concluded, a youth, Abdul Qadeer, pointing his finger to the Maharaja’s palace, raised slogans “destroy its every brick”. With the accusation of sedition, he was arrested forthwith. Abdul Qadir was to be tried in the court but due to large public resentment, the court was shifted to Central Jail Srinagar.
On July 12, 1931, in response to the shifting of court, intense public protests were held throughout the city. The next day, on July 13, 1931, thousands of people thronged 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 started 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 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 India. The human rights record of Indian government in Kashmir has been terrible and is characterized by arbitrary arrests, torture, rape and extrajudicial killings. What's happening after 1989 is known to all.
Today’s Kashmir presents the worst possible case of persecution where Forces threaten to eliminate entire masses engaged in demanding implementation of the United Nations resolutions. Various methods of oppression are being tried out against the innocent Kashmirirs, demanding their legitimate right.
In the recent past, discovery of nearly 3000 graves of the unmarked Muslims in the 18 villages of Kashmir surprised the international community. It is notable that ‘composite dialogue’ between India and Pakistan took place on a number of occasions, but produced no outcome, prolonging the agony of the subjugated people of Kashmir.
This day every year reminds us of the rights we have been denied as Kashmiris.
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Lastupdate on : Mon, 12 Jul 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 12 Jul 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Jul 2010 00:00:00 IST
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