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Shutdown, curbs mark Martyrs’ day


Web desk July 14

While the separatist leaders and activists were detained or confined to their homes and a thick security blanket wrapped Srinagar and other areas amid Valley-wide shutdown, a host of government functionaries and politicians paid homage to the martyrs at the old Mazar-e-Shuhda at Khwaja Bazar early Friday morning. Except Governor, top government functionaries including advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar visited paid offer floral tributes to the 1931 Martyrs. He laid wreaths over the graves of the Martyrs. BJP and Panthers Party skipped the official function; both don’t recognize those killed on the day as martyrs.
Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam, director general of police S P Vaid, divisional commission Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan, IGP Kashmir, S P Pani, deputy commissioner Srinagar Abid Rasheed Shah and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.
The authorities had imposed restriction in parts of Srinagar to foil a march that had been called by the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik. Geelani and Mirwaiz were not allowed to move of their homes while Yasin Malik continues to remain in police custody. Mirwaiz, however, made an abortive bid to defy the house detention and tried to lead a march toward the martyrs’ graveyard. A heavy contingent of police detained him and lodged him at police station Nigeen. He was later released. Mirwaiz expressed anguish over the curb imposed on common Kashmiris even on the eve of martyrs’ day which is officially recognized by the state. He said, “ This proves that Kashmir is suffering the foreign rule and genuine voices are muzzled to perpetuate the illegal hold over Kashmir.”
Speaking to his supporters ahead of his detention, Mirwaiz welcomed the statement of UN chief Antonio Guttres backing Mr Zaids call for international investigation into human rights situation in Kashmir calling it the “voice of the UN”. “Instead of calling the UN report biased and fallacious Government of India should understand that it cannot forever cloak the gravest human rights abuses being perpetuated here by their forces from the eyes of the world,” the Hurriyat (M) chairman said. “Truth always comes out and no amount of denial or propaganda can change that fact.”
July 13 is observed as martyrs’ day across Jammu and Kashmir. On this day in 1931, 22 Kashmiris fell to the bullets fired by Dogra forces outside Central Jail in Srinagar as they had revolted against the then Dogra ruler Marharaja Hari Singh. The day is observed as an official holiday across the state. Interestingly, Kashmiris buried at Khawaja Bazar graveyard are the only ones officially recognized as martyrs and the day is not just an official holiday but also the ceremonial tributes are paid to the martyrs with full state honors with the men from Kashmir police offering gun salutes at the graveyard. BJP and Panthers Party are the only pro-India mainstream parties that do not recognize them as martyrs. The BJP claims that calling “those killed on this days as martyrs has been a debatable issue.”
Since early morning, leaders from mainstream parties seemed in a race to mark their presence that the martyrs graveyard to lay wreaths and to offer fatiah prayers for the 22 martyrs who are laid to rest there. From the PDP, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was accompanied by the senior party leaders Muhammad Khursheed Alam, Muhammad Ashraf Mir and others, showered flower petals on the graves and offered special prayers for the martyrs.
From the National Conference, former chief minister Omar Abdulah who was accompanied by senior party leaders Ali Muhammad Sagar, Nasir Aslam Wani and others also laid floral wreaths on the graves of 22 martyrs. They also offered fatiha for the martyrs.
The Congress team was led by its president Ghulam Ahmed Mir, who also offered fatiha prayers and laid floral wreaths on each grave. Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmed Khan also recited fatiah prayers and showered flower petals on the graves of martyrs of July 31, 1931. A traditional police band was played to show respect to the martyrs while as J&K police chief S P Vaid took salute of the band in honor of the martyrs of 1931. Engineer Rashid of the Awami Itehad Party also reached the graveyard and paid tributes to the martyrs.
A police official said that all the guests that visited martyrs graveyard arrived and left peacefully. “There was no untoward incident,” he said. The BJP continued with its practice of staying away from paying tributes to July 13, 1931 martyrs.
The police and the paramilitary CRPF had enforced stringent curbs across downtown that include Nowhatta, Khanyar, Khanyar and Maharaj Gunj to ensure no separatist manages to reach Khawjabazar. The strict restrictions were in place to ensure no pro-freedom gathering takes place anywhere in downtown. While as Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman continues to remain under house confinement at his Hyderpora residence, JKLF chief Malik who was detained on July 6 remains under police custody in police station Kothibagh. The other resistance leaders that include Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Ghulam Nabi Sumji, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Mukhtar Ahmed Waza, were either under house arrest of kept in a preventive custody.
Meanwhile, many areas in Srinagar including the city centre, Lal Chowk observed shutdown to commemorate the martyrs day. A JRL leader said that they had only called for a march to graveyard and no strike call was given. However, a witness said that many areas that include Maisuma, Habba Kadal, Kani Kadal, Khanyar, Dalgate observed shutdown. “Shops in these areas were closed for the day,” a witness said.

About Shakir Kuchay

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