Sheikh Imran Bashir
Srinagar: The Kashmir Martyrs’ Day was observed here on Tuesday in memory of 23 Kashmiris who died in 1931 while fighting against Dogra rule.
Normal life remained on an idle in entire Kashmir region today on the eve of the Martyrs’ Day as authorities imposed curfew and imposed restrictions on civilian movement to thwart a planned separatist march.
Curfew and prohibitive orders remained in force in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley in an attempt the thwart the Hurriyat-sponsored march to the Martyrs Graveyard. Hurriyat (G) had planned to organise a prayer meeting and rally at the Eidgah Martyrs’ Graveyard. Most of the Hurriyat leaders remained either under house arrest or under detention.
Restrictions were imposed in the Srinagar to prevent a separatist rally coinciding with ‘martyrs’ day’, commemorating the 1931 day when the central jail here was stormed and jail guards opened fire killing many people.
A top police officer told Agence India Press that, restrictions are in place throughout Srinagar city as a precautionary measure to protect civilian life and property from the designs of anti-social elements.
Curfew was imposed in Batmaloo in Srinagar and Sopore in North Kashmir as a precautionary measure while restrictions under section 144 CrPC are being strictly enforced in rest of the Valley, police said.
There was heavy deployment of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) around the martyrs’ graveyard to facilitate the visit there.
Police and paramilitary troops were patrolling the deserted streets to maintain law and order in the entire Valley.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, New and Renewable Energy Minister and National Conference President Farooq Abdullah visited the martyrs’ graveyard in Naqashband Sahib, old city area to pay floral tributes and offer prayers there.
Main Opposition leader in the State Assembly and patron of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mufti Mohammad Syeed also visited the Mazar-e-Shuhada (martyrs’ graveyard) and paid tributes to the martyrs.
The state congress chief, Saif Udin Soz also visited the martyrs’ graveyard and paid tributes to the martyrs.
It was July 13, 1931, when people revolting against the autocratic rule of Dogra Maharaja, Hari Singh, stormed the central jail in Srinagar city. Jail guards retaliated by opening fire and killing many people.
The people killed in the central jail firing were buried in the graveyard that has since been known as the martyrs’ graveyard here.
Mirwaiz, the chairman of APHC (M), who was placed under house arrest on Saturday when he tried to lead a protest demonstration in the old city, had given a call for a march to UNMOGIP from the martyrs graveyard at Naqashband Sahib to hand over a memorandum to UN representatives seeking to implement the resolutions passed by the UN for resolving the Kashmir issue.
The APHC (G) led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani had also planned a rally from martyrs’ graveyard to Eidgah to pay homage to 22 people who died on July 13, 1931 during the Dogra rule.
In the evening, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah called on Governor N. N. Vohra at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar and discussed the situation in the State.
The Governor and the Chief Minister held wide-ranging discussions, particularly focusing on the recent developments in the state and security management issues, during their hour-long meeting, an official spokesperson said.
The Chief Minister briefed the Governor about the deliberations of the all-party meeting held on Monday and the major thrust areas of future action, he said
Meanwhile in Jammu, Panun Kashmir movement, led by the President Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, staged a protest against the alleged appeasement policy of the government towards Muslim fundamentalists, and observed the day as a ‘Black Day’ in Jammu.
July13 is observed as Martyrs day in memory of those who laid down their lives fighting against Dogra rule in Kashmir.
Speakers accused the government of encouraging activities of Muslim fundamentalists, and claimed that this had brought the state to its present situation.
Chrungoo Said, as far as the Indian government is concerned, till today the government has abided by the appeasement policy and has brought Kashmir to where it is today. Today, the Indian government has almost agreed that yes there is some problem in Kashmir, which should be solved. We feel that their appeasement policy has brought Kashmir to where it is today.
Unless the Indian government brings a change in their policy and does not bring in peace and harmony the situation in Kashmir will not improve, he said.
The protestors warned the government to mend its policies.
“Till today that appeasement policy is being followed and we want to warn the government that it should not come under the Islamic fundamentalist forces,” said A.L Pandita, Member of Panun Kashmir Movement.