MIRPUR (AJK) - Kashmiris living on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and rest of the world observed 84th Kashmir Martyrs Day on Monday with the renewal of pledge to continue the grand mission of Kashmiri martyrs through the freedom struggle, with full vigour, for the achievement of birth right to self-determination and liberation of occupied Jammu & Kashmir from the tyrannical Indian rule.

Rallies, seminars and meetings were the hallmark of the Kashmir Martyrs Day across the Azad Jammu & Kashmir, occupied Jammu & Kashmir and rest of the world to observe the day.

In Azad Jammu Kashmir, it was a public holiday to facilitate people to participate in the events of the day. This year, the Kashmir Martyrs Day is flanked by a sign of a new hope, that if India agrees to the ground realities without any reservations and learns a lesson from the historical facts that she (New Delhi) cannot rule Kashmiris by force, may help bring a lasting peace and prosperity in the region.

This year the Kashmir Martyrs Day was observed at the time when India and Pakistan are reportedly going to resume the halted phased process of the bilateral talks with a prime focus to resolve all outstanding differences including the core issue of Jammu & Kashmir most probably from September this year. The people of Jammu and Kashmir from both sides of the LoC have attached great hopes to any breakthrough in the upcoming bilateral talks between the two countries vis-à-vis the resolution of the much-delayed Kashmir problem in line with the aspirations of its basic stakeholders - the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

Rallies and seminars to pay rich tributes to Kashmiri martyrs were held at various places in AJK to mark the day.

Special Kashmir Martyrs Day meetings were held at almost all the district and tehsil headquarters including Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Bagh, Rawalakot, Sudhanoti, Neelam valley, Haveili, Hattiyan and Bhimbher and all other small and major towns and cities. Addressing these special functions speakers paid rich tributes to the Kashmiris martyrs of 1931 who were gunned down by the then Dogra rulers outside the Central Jail Srinagar for raising voice for the liberation of the motherland from the Dogra yoke.

It was on this day in 1931 when the Dogra troops had shot dead 22 Kashmiris in front of the Central Jail Srinagar. A large number of people had gathered outside the jail protesting against the trial of a young man - Abdul Qadeer for treason inside the prison.

HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DAY:

The Kashmir Martyrs’ Day or Youm-e-Shuhada-e-Kashmir is observed on July 13 every year not only on both sides of the Line of Control but also 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 tragic day is the milestone in the advent of the Kashmiris struggle against foreign occupation which still continues under the Indian alien rule.

The history of Dogra rule (1846-1947) in Kashmir is replete with brutal treatment, perpetrated on the Kashmiri Muslims by Dogra forces. Under their rule, the life was made so terrible and miserable for the Muslims that it was difficult to differentiate them from beasts. Slave labour, heavy taxes, capital punishment for cow slaughter, and living under constant state-terror was order of the day.

On July 13, 1931, thousands of people crowded 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 resumed the Azan from the verse it was broken following the martyrdom of first Kashmiri speaker of the 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 tragic 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 Bazaar, Srinagar.

The atrocities against the Kashmiri Muslims did not stop even after the partition of the sub continent or United Hindustan. The human rights record of Indian government in the Indian-occupied Kashmir has been terrible and is characterized by arbitrary arrests, torture, rape and extrajudicial killings.

Since 1989 when liberation of Kashmir entered a new phase, Indian military troops have been using all inhuman tactics of ethnic cleansing to disturb the majority population of the Kashmiris.

Nonetheless, observance of Kashmiris’ freedom struggle on the Kashmir Martyrs’ Day on July 13, every year is reaffirmation of the fact that Kashmiris will continue to fight against Indian illegitimate occupation. In this connection, Youme Shuhada-e-Kashmir is an ideal day for the people of Jammu & Kashmir to seek inspiration to carry their struggle for freedom to its logical end.

DAY OBSERVED IN OCCUPIED KASHMIR: In occupied Kashmir a strike-like situation prevailed as curfew continued to prevent Kashmiris from observing the Kashmir Martyrs. The call for observing the day was given by various pro-freedom parties including the major alliance - All Parties Hurriyat Conference chief Mir Waiz Omer Farooq and senior Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, across the occupied Jammu Kashmir marking the observance of the Kashmir Martyrs Day. The Kashmir Martyrs day programs in the occupied valley were followed by anti-India and pro-freedom rallies across the held state especially in the Muslim-majority areas of the strife-ridden held valley, said a report reaching here Monday from across the LoC.

In occupied Srinagar and other parts of the held state, a large number of people, defying curfew-like heavy restrictions imposed by the Indian occupation forces, visited mazar-e-shuhada in processions, the report said.

As a mark of tribute, Kashmiris now engaged in struggle against forces of Indian occupation on the other part of the LoC - once called the ceasefire line, observed complete strike in every nook and corner of the Indian held part of Jammu and Kashmir state with still more vigour to fight till the implementation of the UN resolutions which had pledged the right to self-determination, with a free and fair plebiscite under its aegis and was subsequently acknowledged even by the Indian leaders yet remains unfulfilled to-date only due to abrupt changes in the Indian postures and its continued intransigence in the Indian held territory, setting aside all global norms and decency and ethics.

MIRPUR MARKS DAY WITH SOLEMNITY: Speakers paid rich tributes to the Kashmiri martyrs at a special gathering held here Monday to commemorate the supreme sacrifices of lives by the Kashmiri martyrs this day in 1931, with due solemnity and reverence.

The ceremony to mark the Kashmir Martyrs Day was held under the auspices of the National Events Organizing Committee. It was presided over by Acting Chairman of the National Events Organizing Committee (NEOC) and AC Raja Qaiser Aurangzeb Khan.

Participants offered fateha for the Kashmiri martyrs including those valiant 22 sons of the soil who laid down their lives this day in front of Srinagar’s central jail in 1931besides praying for the early success of the Kashmir freedom struggle.

Addressing the meeting speakers including Acting Chairman NEOC and Assistant Commissioner Raja Qaiser Aurangzeb, City Administrator Khawaja Sajid Mahmood, Secretary General National Events Organizing Committee Altaf Hamid Rao, Head of Media Wing Javed Malik Elder of the Mirpur Business Community Forum Ch. Muhammad Naeem, President District Non Gazetted Employees Organisation Ch Gulzar Ali, Secretary General APCA Muhammad Akram Mughal and others said that the historic day of July 13, 1931 was in fact the day of advent of the Kashmiris ongoing struggle for the liberation of the motherland from the tyrannical dogra rule and later the clutches of the Indian imperialism.