Pakistan on Thursday observed the 92nd anniversary of “Youm-e-Shuhada-e-Kashmir” or Kashmir Martyrs Day to remember 22 Kashmiris killed by Dogra forces in 1931.
Special prayers were held in mosques across the country for the Kashmiris, who sacrificed their lives braving the brute and indiscriminate firing of Dogra forces.
“We salute their valor which kindled a valiant struggle for the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination and ignited a freedom movement that continues to this day,” said Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, during her weekly press briefing.
On July 13, 1931, 22 Kashmiris were shot dead in Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, by soldiers of the then Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.
The day to commemorate the people killed in a revolt against Singh, a Hindu autocrat, had been declared a national day soon after the birth of India and Pakistan in 1947 and was observed by all sections cutting across political and ideological affiliations.
July 13 every year reminds millions of Kashmiris how Singh’s troops took aim at each person who stood up to make the call (Adhan) for Friday prayers.
“On a pattern similar to the Dogra forces, over the last seventy years, the Indian Occupation Forces have killed hundreds of Kashmiris simply for demanding their rights. Since 5 August 2019, over 780 Kashmiris have been martyred by the Indian Occupation Forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK),” Baloch said.
She added that Islamabad will continue to support Kashmiris in their just struggle against Indian “oppression” till the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
– Kashmiri leaders prevented from ‘paying homage to martyrs’
Two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir said Thursday that police prevented them from “offering homage to the martyrs of 1931 uprising against the then autocratic ruler.”
Mehbooba Mufti, the only woman and last chief minister of the erstwhile autonomous region of Jammu and Kashmir, posted on her Twitter account a video in which she could be heard saying that the gates of her residence have been locked from outside.
Another former chief minister and India’s former junior foreign minister, Omar Abdullah, wrote a series of Tweets, accusing the police of preventing him and his party colleagues from coming to the party headquarters in the capital Srinagar by not letting them venture out of their homes.
“I’ll walk to where I have to get to & that’s exactly what I’m doing now,” he wrote, with an accompanying video showing him walking on a busy street with a few unarmed guards ahead.
Before Aug.9, 2019, when the ruling Hindu nationalist government scrapped the autonomy of the region, July 13 was an official holiday. Although pro-India politicians like Mufti and Omar were not as popular as the pro-freedom leaders, they would ritually lay flower wreaths on the graves of the 22 Kashmiris at the Martyrs Graveyard located in the lawns of a Naqashbandhi Sufi’s mausoleum in Khwaja Bazar area of Srinagar.
They would offer prayers and make customary speeches.
However, the new administration, run directly from New Delhi since 2019, struck the day from the list of holidays and doesn’t allow gatherings at the graveyard.
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