July 13 is observed as Kashmir Martyrs day around the globe in the memory of 22 Kashmiri youth who embraced martyrdom on July 13, 1931 & all other Kashmiris who sacrificed their lives in freedom struggle. On 19 April 1931, the ban of Eid Khutba ignited widespread demonstrations in Jammu city for a number of days. It was followed by desecration of the Holy Quran at the hands of Dogra forces, which resulted in outrage among the Muslims throughout the state.
In Srinagar, people gathered in the Jamia Masjid to denounce this blasphemy. One such get-together was held in Khanqah-e-Molla Srinagar, which was addressed by prominent Kashmiris. When the meeting was concluded, a youth, Abdul Qadeer, pointing his finger to the Maharaja’s palace, raised the slogan “destroy its every brick.” On the accusation of sedition, he was arrested forthwith. Abdul Qadir was to be tried in the court, but due to large public resentment, the court was shifted to Central Jail Srinagar.
On July 12, in response to the shifting of court, intense public protests were held throughout the city. The next day, on July 13, thousands of people thronged the Central Jail Srinagar to witness the in-camera trial of Abdul Qadeer. As the time for obligatory prayer approached, a young Kashmiri stood for Azan.
The Dogra Governor, Ray Zada Tartilok Chand ordered soldiers to open fire at him. When he got martyred, another young man took his place and started Azan. He was also shot dead. In this way, 21 Kashmiris embraced martyrdom in their efforts to complete the Azan.
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The people carried the dead and paraded through the streets of Srinagar, chanting slogans against Dogra brutalities. Complete strike was observed in the city, which was followed by weeklong mourning. This incident shook the whole state and the traffic from Srinagar to Rawalpindi and Srinagar to Jammu came to a halt from July 13 to 26. The 21 martyrs are buried in Martyrs’ Graveyard at Khawaja Bazar, Srinagar.
During the partition of the Subcontinent, the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir which comprised Muslim majority decided to join Pakistan. But, the Dogra Mararaja, Hari Singh, a Hindu who was ruling over the J&K in collusion with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor General Lord Mountbatten, joined India.
The Radcliffe Boundary Award gave the Gurdaspur District, a majority Muslim area, to India to provide a land route to the Indian forces to move into the J&K. Indian forces invaded Srinagar on 27 October, 1947 and forcibly occupied the J&K in utter violation of the partition plan.
When Pakistan responded militarily, on December 31, India made an appeal to the UN Security Council to intervene and a ceasefire ultimately came into effect on 01 January 1949, following UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir. On 5 February 1964, India backed out of its commitment of holding a plebiscite. Instead, the Indian Parliament declared Kashmir an integral part of the Indian Union.
Since 1989 when liberation of Kashmir entered a new phase, Indian military troops have been using all inhuman tactics of ethnic cleansing to disturb the majority population of the Kashmiris.
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Today’s Kashmir is the worst possible example of state terrorism, with Indian forces threatening to exterminate entire populations demanding the implementation of UN resolutions. State terrorist methods such as breaking the leg, burning a village, custodial executions, and so on are cruelly utilized against innocent Kashmiris who demand their legal right to freedom. Over the previous 75 years, Indian military soldiers and security services have slaughtered over half a million civilians in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Kashmiris’ continued resistance to Indian illegal occupation is reaffirmed by the observance of their freedom struggle on July 13 each year on Kashmir Martyrs’ Day. This makes “Youme Shuhada-e-Kashmir” the perfect day for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to look for motivation to bring their freedom struggle to its logical conclusion.