Grandsons of the Maharaja need to seek scrapping of holiday on 13th July, the so-called Martyrs’ Day
The historic resolution adopted by Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council over the holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh has proven red rag for the Valley based so-called mainstream parties. While revetment by the separatists was not unexpected, the arguments advanced by National Conference in opposing the resolution speaks of the narrow mindset and hypocrisy of the fast dwindling political outfit in the Valley.
A National Conference legislator defended the party’s walk out from the Council by stating that “22 people were killed in central jail by the Maharaja’s forces on 13th July. We celebrate it as Martyr’s Day. How can you declare a holiday in the name of those, who are instrumental in massacre? We are opposed to it. We walked-out from the House after protests. Our demand is that the resolution should be withdrawn as it has no locus-standi.”
If ‘massacre’ of 22 people in 1931 was a heinous crime committed during the reign of the Maharaja, what is the take of National Conference over ‘killing of nearly 100 Kashmiri youths in 2010′? As far as the argument about 13th July being observed as the Martyrs’ Day is concerned, National Conference is needed to be shown the mirror.
There are different versions on what happened on 13th July in Kashmir but the central point remains generally the same as has been put in by a Kashmir centric author in a write up, which reads: “In Srinagar, people gathered in Jamia Masjid to denounce this incident. One such get-together was held in Khankah-e-Muella Srinagar, which was addressed by prominent Kashmiris. When the meeting concluded, a youth, Abdul Qadeer, pointing his finger to the Maharaja’s palace, raised slogans “destroy its every brick”. This led to killing of several persons who protested against the Maharaja’s regime.
Interestingly, 13th July is also being observed by Kashmiri Hindus (not just Kashmiri Pandits but Hindus belonging to Muzaffarabad, Punjab and Jammu as well) as Black Day, as they feel that this day in 1931 marks the beginning of the first organised genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir. Besides performing Tarpan at Akhnoor Ghat and observing Shradh in memory of those killed in 1931 July, the survivors and witnesses of the1931 massacre keep narrating the horror tales of this day in village Kanikote in Budgam, Maharajganj and Vicharnag in Srinagar allegedly by the Muslim Conference, now rechristened as National Conference.
The argument of the National Conference (a lawmaker of which recently created huge controversy by describing Burhan Wani as a martyr in the Legislative Council) that 1931 protests were against the ‘tyranny of the Maharaja’ is being blasted by Kashmiri separatists, who describe the day as beginning of Kashmiris movement for getting rid of ‘foreign occupation’ (Pakistan was yet to be carved out then)
Of late, Kashmiri separatists remain in the forefront to pay tributes to the martyrs, not only of 1931 but who have ‘sacrificed’ their lives till date for the freedom struggle of Kashmir. For them the 1931 sacrifices were not against the autocratic rule or fighting for the people’s rule, say democracy, in Jammu and Kashmir but it was the beginning of the freedom movement for seeking ‘liberation from the clutches of foreign occupation’. How they perceive the so-called Martyr’s Day is reflected from the theme being disseminated by the All Party’s Hurriyat Conference, ‘Azad’ Kashmir, saying, “As many as 21 Kashmiris sacrificed their lives for the supreme cause of freedom for Kashmir from the foreign occupation on this particular day. The APHC pays tributes to them and reiterates the pledge to continue the struggle till the goal of liberation is achieved”. The same is the theme line of the APHC on this side of Kashmir as well.
It is time for the grandsons of the Maharaja to work towards getting scrapped the holiday on 13th July being observed as Martyrs’ Day.