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Daily News Analysis

July 13: Kashmir Martyrs’ Day

Zia Sarhadi

In this black and white picture from 1931, Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah is leading the funeral prayers in Jamia Masjid Srinagar, for the 22 Kashmiris martyred on July 13. Nearly 90 years later, the Kashmiris' struggle for freedom and dignity continues despite facing 900,000 heavily armed Indian army of occupation

July 13 marks an important landmark in the long history of the struggle for freedom of the Kashmiri people.

It was marked by a total shutdown in Kashmir today. There were also commemoration meetings in other parts of the world where Kashmiris and their friends and allies reside.

It was on this date in 1931 that 22 Kashmiris were gunned down, one after another, in Srinagar while thousands of people awaited the verdict in the trial of Abdul Qadir in the city’s Central Jail.

The killings occurred when in preparation for dhuhr salat(afternoon prayers) a young man stood up to call the adhaan(call to prayer).

The Dogra police promptly shot and killed him. Another one took his place and by the time the adhaan was completed, 22 Kashmiris lay dead, brutally shot by the police.

The enraged crowd carried the bodies on their shoulders seeking justice but the tyrannical Dogra ruler resorted to even more brute force to suppress any expression of dissent from the masses.

Ever since that fateful day, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have observed July 13 as Martyrs’ Day.

Keeping in mind the year 1931, it will be immediately apparent that the Kashmiris’ struggle for freedom predates by 16 years the emergence of India and Pakistan from British colonial rule.

Kashmiris are observing a total strike on a call “given by the veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Gilani, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat forum to reiterate the urgent need for a peaceful and just resolution of the Kashmir dispute and to put an end to repression against the Kashmiri people and Hurriyat leaders,” according to a report in the Kashmir Media Service (KMS).

The KMS report further stated that “Syed Ali Gilani in a tweet maintained that the people of occupied Kashmir have not submitted to the Indian oppression for the last several decades and they would continue their battle against this brutal occupation till the dawn of freedom. In another tweet, he urged people to observe shutdown on 13th July.”

Already suffocating under an eleven-month lockdown (since August 5, 2019), Kashmiris faced even tighter restrictions imposed by the Indian occupation troops.

“Almost all Hurriyat leaders and activists including Syed Ali Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are either languishing in jails or under house detention. Tehreek-e Hurriyat Chairman, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and several Jamaat-e Islami leaders and activists were arrested, yesterday,” according to a report by the Kashmir Media Service today.


British intrigue and Hindu chauvinism have led to the mass suffering of the Kashmiri people


The tragedy of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is intricately linked to the sordid conduct of the British colonialists.

They left a trail of blood by deliberately creating conflicts in lands where they set foot.

The British colonialists created the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1846.

Despite an overwhelmingly Muslim population (over 95 percent), the state was sold by the British East India Company to Hindu Maharaja Gulab Singh for Rs7,500,000.

The Hindu monarch was a medieval tyrant who treated the Kashmiri Muslims as serfs.

He unleashed a reign of terror against the Kashmiris.

While the British had no right to interfere in the affairs of the people of Kashmir, given their colonial mindset, they ignored the rights and wishes of the Indigenous people.

European colonialists—primarily the British—went about disrupting the lives of other peoples in distant lands by imposing political and administrative structures that led to perpetual conflict.

By “selling” Kashmir to a Hindu maharaja in 1846 when the overwhelming majority of Kashmiris were Muslims clearly reflected the British colonialists’ malevolent intent.

Divide and rule has been their favorite policy tool.

This is what they did about 70 years later in Palestine with the Balfour declaration (1917).

The Kashmiris have struggled for their right to self-determination from successive oppressive rulers—first the Dogra raj and later the Hindu chauvinists.

Their struggle continues. Kashmir Martyrs’ Day is an important landmark in their quest from freedom from tyranny and oppression.

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