SRINAGAR: Mainstream political party leaders in the Valley have accused the government of imposing restrictions on Martyrs’ Day in order to hinder their attendance at Mazar-e-Shuhada. This function has taken place annually since 1948, commemorating those who rebelled against Dogra rule on July 13, 1931.

The National Conference tweeted, “Despite the restrictions placed on JKNC Vice President Omar Abdullah, which denied him security vehicles and ITBP cover, he chose to walk from his home to the Nawai Subh office. His purpose was to address the party workers who had gathered there to pay their heartfelt tributes to the 1931 Martyrs.”

Omar Abdullah, while tagging the Twitter handle of Jammu and Kashmir police, said, “Don’t think that refusing to give me my escort vehicles and ITBP cover will stop me. I’ll walk to where I have to get to, and that’s exactly what I’m doing now.”

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Now that I’ve got to the office &amp; will go ahead with my programme you will send everything. The fact is <a href=””>@JmuKmrPolice</a> has stopped a lot of my senior colleagues from coming to the <a href=””>@JKNC_</a> office today by adopting the same tactics of stopping them in their homes. Notable amongst…</p>&mdash; Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) <a href=””>July 13, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

“Now that I’ve got to the office and will go ahead with my program, you will send everything. The fact is @JmuKmrPolice has stopped a lot of my senior colleagues from coming to the @JKNC_ office today by adopting the same tactics of stopping them in their homes. Notable amongst those stopped are Abdul Rahim Rather Sb, Ali Mohammad Sagar Sb, Ali Mohd Dar Sb, and others,” he said in another tweet.

The Peoples Democratic Party president and former Chief Minister of the erstwhile state, Mehbooba Mufti, was also barred by authorities from paying homage to the 1931 Martyrs.

The PDP said, “President Mehbooba Mufti has been put under house arrest, and curbs imposed on the movement of senior leaders. Sad the sacrifices of those who laid down their lives for democracy are being dishonored. Vehemently condemn the action of the admin preventing us from commemorating the martyrs.”

The Peoples Conference, while taking to Twitter, said, “Disturbed by the authorities’ decision to restrict the JKPC Provincial President Kashmir Khurshid Alam’s movement from paying homage to the martyrs of Kashmir at Mazar-e-Shuhada in Khanyar today.”

Alam stated that it is unfortunate that he, along with other leaders of the party, were unjustly detained and denied the opportunity to lead a peaceful gathering of party leaders and workers to offer prayers and pay tributes to the martyrs at Manzar-e-Shuhada.

“This restriction on our peaceful assembly is deeply concerning and infringes upon our right to commemorate the martyrs. Despite this setback, our determination remains unwavering. We shall continue to honor and remember the martyrs in our hearts and work towards achieving their vision of a just and prosperous Jammu and Kashmir,” he concluded.

As per officials, for the fourth consecutive year, no function was held to commemorate Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir and pay homage to the 22 Kashmiri people who were killed by the army of a Dogra ruler on this day in 1931.

July 13 used to be a public holiday in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and a grand official function was held every year on this day, with the chief minister or the governor as the chief guest.

However, the administration dropped the day from the list of gazetted holidays in 2020 after the abrogation of Article 370 and the splitting of the erstwhile state into two union territories by the Centre on August 5, 2019.

No function was held at the Martyrs’ graveyard in the city, and no holiday was observed for the third time on Thursday. Apart from the official function at the Martyrs’ graveyard, mainstream political leaders also used to visit it to pay homage to the Kashmiris who fell to the bullets of the Dogra army while protesting the autocratic rule of Maharaja Hari Singh.


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