July 2019 News

Kashmir Martyrs' Day: Curfew-like Curbs In Srinagar

12 July 2019
The Asian Age
Yusuf Jameel

Srinagar: The J&K police and central armed forces on Friday enforced a security lockdown in several parts of Srinagar whereas key separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were earlier placed under house arrest to hold back rallies planned by them for Saturday to mark the 'Martyrs' Day'. 'Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL)', an alliance of separatist leaders, has also called for a one-day shutdown in the Valley on the occasion. The official sources here said that curfew-like restrictions will remain in force in parts of the summer capital on Saturday 'as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order'. On July 13, 1931, as many as 22 Kashmiris were killed in firing by autocratic Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh's Army outside Srinagar's central prison where an in-camera trial of famed Abdul Qadeer Khan, a non-local chef with a British traveller, was being held. Khan had been charged with sedition and instigating people for violence after he made fiery speeches against the Maharaja's 'oppressive' rule at a Friday congregation and while pointing towards his Palace asked people to raze it 'brick by brick.' Since July 13 is observed as 'Martyrs' Day' on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) at official and unofficial levels. Also, July 13 is a public holiday on both sides of the de facto border. However, the BJP and like-minded parties having strong base in Jammu, the native place of despotic Dogra Maharajas, consider their rule in undivided Jammu and Kashmir as a 'golden period' and also maintain that Maharaja Hari Singh was a genuine ruler of the state. Government functionaries including governors and chief ministers and leaders of various political parties issue customary statements on the eve of the occasion to pay tributes to the martyrs of 1931. But the present Governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday chose to issue a guarded statement instead which merely called for collective efforts to secure rapid growth and development of J&K on all fronts. An official statement issued here said that the Governor, in his message on the occasion of Martyrs' Day, 'has called for collective efforts from all sections of the society to secure rapid growth and development of the State on all fronts'. It added that the Governor observed that J&K 'has always been known for its glorious pluralistic ethos and harmony and emphasised the crucial importance of maintaining unity and brotherhood for ushering the State towards peace and prosperity'.