KASHMIR REMEMBERS 1931 MARTYRS
*Separatist Shutdown, Govt Restrictions Cripple Life *Omar, Mufti, Soz Visit Naqashband Sahib
Srinagar, July 13: A complete shutdown marked the Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir Valley on Wednesday while authorities resorted to clamp-down and imposed harsh restrictions to foil the proposed march by separatists.
It was on July 13, 1931 when 22 Kashmiris were gunned down by the army of autocratic Dogra ruler after the people rose against Maharaja’s rule for their rights.
Both the factions of Hurriyat Conference had urged the people to march towards the Martyrs’ graveyard at Naqshband Sahab in old city to pay tributes to the 1931 martyrs.
As the morning broke, heavy contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF men sealed all the entry points to the city by erecting barricades and concertina wire on the roads to restrict the movement of people.
Shops, business establishments and other commercial establishments remained closed while public transport was off the roads. Mostly CRPF and police personnel were seen dotting the roads.
In old city, the force personnel wearing battle fatigue patrolled the lanes and by lanes in a bid to restrict the movement of residents and to thwart any protests.
In Nowhatta, Safakadal, Zainakadal Rainawari, MR Gunj and other places, the forces had erected hurdles to restrict the movement.
“We were not allowed to go outside. Whosoever tried to step out was driven away by the police and CRPF men. We were forced to stay indoors,” Sameer Ahmad, a resident of Kawdara locality said. “The undeclared curfew was as strict as in 2010”.
The authorities had already imposed section 144 CRPC in Srinagar- which bars the gathering of more than four people at one place.
In uptown city, complete shutdown was observed. Force personnel had erected the barricades at Panthacowk and Shalteng crossing to prevent vehicles coming from south and north Kashmir to enter Srinagar.
In north Kashmir’s Baramulla, Sopore, Zainageer, Rafiabad and Bandipora areas, complete shutdown was observed. The shops were closed and no public transport plied on the roads except some skeletal private transport. The situation in the volatile north Kashmir, however, remained peaceful.
In south Kashmir complete strike was observed in Islamabad (Anantnag), Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and other areas.
MAINSTREAM LEADERS PAY TRIBUTES
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah visited the Naqshband Sahib Martyrs graveyard and paid floral tributes to the martyrs.
Omar and his entourage arrived at the venue this morning amidst tight security. Although some National Conference workers living in the vicinity had assembled at graveyard, the Chief Minister did not address them.
Peoples Democratic Party Patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed visited the Naqashband sahib Shrine and paid floral tributes to martyrs.
Speaking on the occasion Mufti said that on this day 82-years back in 1931, the people of Jammu and Kashmir expressed their desire to break the chains of centuries old slavery when people of the state publicly denounced the autocratic rulers. In this event of external manifestation of their internal desire, Mufti said love for freedom, scores of people sacrificed their lives and hundreds suffered bullet injuries and the sacrifice of those people led the formation of democratic regime in 1947.
“The martyrs of 13th July 1931 shall remain in our enduring memories and let us pledge today to sign a fresh contract for achievement of our national goal of dignified peace and development,” Mufti said.
President of Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee, Prof Saifudin Soz along with other Congress leaders also paid homage to the martyrs. “Martyrs who sacrificed their lives on this very day in 1931, had aroused feelings and awareness among Kashmiris for their rights,” Soz said.
He said it was the duty of the every segment of society to safeguard the sacred sacrifices of these great martyrs.
Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) organized a blood donation camp simultaneously at Srinagar and Jammu. The party claimed a sizeable number of party workers donated the blood to pay homage the Martyrs of13th July 1931.
Speaking on the occasion, DPN President and Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir said, “It is the endeavour of the party to carry forward the noble mission of martyrs.”
ER RASHEED REFUSES TO ACCEPT SARKARI FLOWERS
The independent MLA from Langate Er Rasheed refused to accept “sarkari flowers” to lay wreath at the Martyrs’ graveyard at Naqashband Sahib here.
Rasheed said he did not lay “Sarkari” flowers on the graves of martyrs as their mission is yet to be completed.
Rasheed said laying wreaths on the 1931 martyrs has become just a ritual. “Souls of these martyrs continue to be imprisoned.”
“The 1931 martyrs taught us to live with self-respect and honour, but Kashmiris are yet to live that life for which martyrs laid down their lives,” he said.
He said that there is a race among political parties and political thoughts who claim to be heirs of these martyrs, but their real heirs, the people of Kashmir have been forced to stay indoors on this day.
“Until people of Kashmir are allowed to live life of dignity and honour, observing July 13 as Martyrs Day is not justified,” he added.
TOURISTS FACE INCONVENIENCE
Due to government enforced restrictions, tourists had to face immense problems. Many tourists complained that they had to remain confined to their hotels and houseboats.
“Today I realized the reality about Kashmir. First time I have seen a shutdown and so many force personnel on the road,” a tourist, Praveen Kumar told Greater Kashmir. “This place is so uncertain”.
President Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association, Siraj Ahmad said that tourists had to face the brunt of enforced restrictions. “There was inconvenience caused by restrictions. Many of the tourists were confined to the hotel rooms. The itineraries too were disturbed,” Ahmad said.
President Jammu Kashmir Houseboat Owners Association, Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo said the restrictions severely disturbed the itineraries of the tourists.
“Their sight seeing was jeopardized due to the restrictions,” Wangnoo said. “We did not want their life to be in risk as well. We suspended their tours. This will have a negative impact on tourism sector.”
PROTESTS IN ISLAMABAD
Reports said that scores of youth took to the streets at Islamabad (Anantnag) town in south Kashmir late in the evening and staged pro-freedom demonstrations. However, Police and CRPF men deployed there resorted to cane charge to disperse the protesters who retaliated with stones triggering clashes.
Locals said that police later arrested two youth.
(WITH INPUTS FROM KHALID GUL)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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