Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) President Altaf Bukhari on Monday termed the restrictions imposed on the visit of political parties to martyrs, graveyard for paying homage to 13 July 1931 martyrs as “highly regrettable.”
In a statement, Bukhari said the Martyrs’ graveyard in downtown symbolizes the legacy of those brave hearts and sons of the soil who sacrificed their lives to lay edifice for democracy and natural justice in J&K.
“Putting curbs on the visit of political parties to martyrs’ graveyard for paying homage to our heroes who laid down their precious lives against autocracy and oppression is unjustifiable,” Bukhari said.
He said July 13 was a historic day for people of Jammu and Kashmir as the day marks the beginning of a struggle against suppression and inequality and its relevance will remain the same for times to come.
While paying tributes to the martyrs, Bukhari cautioned that the suppression of democratic activities under any pretext does not augur well with the constitutional guarantees enjoyed by the citizens in this country.
He said the sacrifices offered on 13 July 1031 were meant to free the society from autocracy and lay edifice for a democratic set up.
“These sacrifices were not made on any communal lines as is being unfortunately projected by some sections of the society. The day assumes significance because our 22 fearless souls showed undaunted courage to uphold the principles of democracy and human dignity and had nothing to do with any particular dynasty or a clan,” Bukhari said.
He appealed to people to join hands to develop J&K as a society based on natural justice and principles of democratic temperament as was envisioned by the martyrs.
“People should work to strengthen our socio-cultural ethos of tolerance and brotherhood which forms the soul of a democracy. The powers that be should understand that people of J&K have fought for upholding principles of equality and human dignity all along its glorious past. JKAP also pledges to strive for implementation of those principles in letter and spirit,” he said.
Meanwhile, JKAP senior leader Ghulam Hassan Mir said barring mainstream political parties from visiting martyrs’ graveyard was “unfortunate” and “anti-democratic” outlook of present dispensation.
Mir said authorities did not permit them to visit graveyard at Naqshband Saheb. “We had asked for a permission but the administration didn’t allow us to visit graves of martyrs who laid their lives for upholding the ethos of democracy and fought against injustice”, Mir told KNS.
Mir termed the move “anti-democratic”, and said this was first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir that wishes of majority people were ignored.
He said there was a possibility of dissent but that does not mean the authorities will prevent people from attending July 13, which was being considered as sacred one among majority.
“If there is a dissent between political parties, that doesn’t give you mandate to go against the wishes of majority”, he said.