A deserted view of Old Srinagar City. (Pic: Bilal Bahadur)
A deserted view of Old Srinagar City. (Pic: Bilal Bahadur)

Kashmir valley observed complete shutdown on Sunday to remember martyrs of July 13, 1931 commonly known as Youm-e-Shuhada-e-Kashmir. Business establishments are closed and traffic is off the roads while people are staying indoors. However, private vehicles are plying in the civil lines area of the summer capital and the Sunday Market is also functioning normally. As separatists had called for complete shutdown for the day, unionist parties paid homage to martyrs buried at graveyard in the revered shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Naqshband Sahib (RA) in old city here.

The authorities clamped curfew in areas falling under five police stations in Old Srinagar city to “maintain peace” in the area. Meanwhile, they also put separatists under house detention. Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani continues to remain under house arrest while his subordinates were house arrested late Saturday evening. Hurriyat (M) chief Mirwaiz Umar who was scheduled to take out a rally to Khanqah-i-Naqshband Sahib was placed under house arrest at his Nigeen residence on Saturday. Hurriyat (JK) leader Shabir Shah also has been put under house arrest while his associate, Nayeem Ahmad Khan was arrested Saturday evening and lodged in police station Saddar. JKLF chairman, Mohammad Yasin Malik is under detention since couple of days.

Interestingly, both unionists and separatists are claiming legacy of the Martyrs of July 13, 1931.

Authorities had put in place high security bandobast while men of Srinagar Municipal Corporation were seen from early Saturday morning cleaning the Mazar-e-Shuhada for the visit of the unionist politicians of the state.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah early Sunday morning paid homage to the martyrs at the Mazar-e-Shuhada. He was accompanied by some of his senior cabinet ministers.

Pertinently, 23 Kashmiris fell to the bullets of troopers of Dogra ruler Hari Singh on July 13, 1931. The Kashmiris were protesting the prosecution of Abdul Qadeer Khan outside Central Jail in Srinagar. Khan, an Afghan cook who was accompanying a British visitor in Kashmir had used podium set up by the then leadership of Kashmir and raised his voice against the  atrocities and oppression of Hari Singh up on Kashmiris. Soon after he was arrested and a trail court was set against him.

On July 13 when a hearing was scheduled to happen in his case, hundreds of Kashmiris had gathered outside Central Jail who were protesting against his illegal arrest and demanded that the trial should happen in an open court.

The cops who were guarding the central jail were directed to open fire on the beleaguered Kashmiris resulting in the death of 21 Kashmiris.


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