July 13 aftermath

Blood stained clothes of some of the July 13 martyrs had been sent to Kashmir Committee which were displayed at various places.
July 13 aftermath
File Photo

The July 13 massacre evoked massive response across the sub-continent. Muslims held demonstrations at Amritsar, Lahore, Lucknow,  Delhi and at other major cities.   The Kashmir Committee headed by Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal worked hard to muster support for the freedom movement.  Blood stained clothes of some of the July 13 martyrs had been sent to Kashmir Committee which were displayed at various places. The Committee urged the Muslims to observe August 14 as youm-e-Kashmir (Kashmir Day). Processions were taken out at Lahore, Sialkote, Amritsar, Delhi and Lucknow to express solidarity with the Kashmiris. A rally was also held at Rangoon.

Kashmiri Muslims also observed August 14 as Kashmir day. Women assembled in the Naqshband Sahib Shrine in large numbers. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, Chowdhary Ghulam Abbas and Mistri Muhammad Yaqoub addressed them. Blood soaked clothes of martyrs were displayed here as well. Soon after, a rally was held at Jamia Masjid, Srinagar. The kith and kin of the martyrs were introduced to the people. Amid sobs, the people expressed determination to continue the struggle despite odds. Sheikh Abdullah after reciting few verses of the holy Quran addressed the rally.

 The Majlis-e-Ahrar was considered a fundamentalist group even in Kashmir. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah did not like them and in his statement issued from jail flayed their involvement in Kashmir affairs. However, Maharaja Hari Singh allowed Ahrar team to visit Kashmir to probe July 13 massacre.  

On August 18, the Majlis-e-Ahrar passed a resolution seeking enforcement of rights of Kashmiris irrespective of their religion. It was also decided that Ahrars would help Kashmiris through peaceful means. A few days later a massive rally was held at Delhi Gate, Lahore. Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal presided and urged the Majlis to violate the ban on entry into Kashmir. The Prime Minister of Jammu Kashmir had banned entry of outsiders into Kashmir. In his order he said: "Since Maharaja has ordered an enquiry into the incident, therefore, no outsider must come         to        Kashmir."  

 On August 31 the Majlis announced that a fact finding team headed by Moulana Mazhar Ali Azhar would visit Kashmir on September 2.  This statement created a stir in Kashmir. The Prime Minister sent a telegram to Moulana Azhar requesting him to meet his governor for Jammu at Sialkote. Moulana agreed and a meeting was held at Deputy-Commissioner's residence.  The fact finding team was allowed to visit Kashmir     on      the     following   conditions that no demonstration shall be held in Kashmir, fact finding team will act objectively, the team shall be state guests and the local leaders ridiculed the Ahrar team for accepting government hospitality. The mission failed.

During those days Kashmiris used to read newspapers published from Lahore and elsewhere. Kashmiris were pleased to read about the rallies held in various Indian cities. This added fuel to the already explosive situation in Kashmir. The agitation turned violent in September with the arrest of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and other leaders. Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah called for Jihad. On September 24 people from all parts of Srinagar assembled near the peer Dastgeer Shrine at Khanyar. Most of them were armed with knives, axes, shovels and spades. Some brandished guns as well.

The Maharaja responded with brute force. A massive military parade was held in Srinagar. People were arrested and flogged in  four flogging centres established at Central Jail, Exhibition grounds, Police Station Maharaj Gunj and Police Station Kothibagh. Three persons died as a result of flogging. The most notable among them was Molvi Ahmadullah of Baramulla. One Ghulam Bhat of Srinagar died in Kothibagh Police station. Similarly Ahmad Bhat of Srinagar died in Central Jail.

Maharaja appointed the Galancy Commission to look into the grievances of Kashmiri people and make recommendations. An I. C. S. officer Sir B. J. Galancy, himself an Englishman, was its chairman. Kashmiri Muslims were represented by  G. A. Ashai, Kashmiri Pandits by Pt. P. N. Bazaz, Jammu Muslims by Ch. Ghulam Abbaas and Jammu Hindus by Lok Nath Sharma on the commission.

 The Commission submitted its report to the government on March 22, 1932. The Hindus felt that its recommendations were not favourable to the interests of the community and ousted Prem Nath Bazaz from the presidentship of Sanatan Dharam Yovak Sabha.  Jialal Kilam became the new president.  In April 1932, Kashmiri pundits launched a vigorous agitation called `Bread Movement' (Roti Agitation), asking the Maharaja not to implement the recommendations of Galancy Commission. Hundreds of Hindus courted arrest to press their demands. Jialal Kilam, Kashyap Bandshu and other prominent pundits supervised the agitation. This reflects the mindset of the community. They were shocked by the recommendations of the commission which had suggested some measures for welfare of Muslims.  However, the Roti Agitation failed to change the perception of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. He went ahead with his plan of secularising the movement.  

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