Massive protest demonstrations were organised by Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu on July 13 to observe this day as a black day. July 13, 1931 marks the beginning of the first organised genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir.
Kashmiri Pandits assembled in large numbers outside the Press Club of Jammu to register their protest against the observance of July 13 as the ‘martyrs day’ in the state. Wearing black badges, holding placards and shouting slogans, the protesters registered their outrage. On the occasion, a survivor and witness of the 1931 massacre, Radha Krishan Mattoo narrated the horror tales of that day, which occurred in his village Kanikote in Budgam district of Kashmir.
Seventy-eight years ago on July 13, 1931, the majority community in Kashmir rose in one body in support of a sheer communalist Abdul Qadir, who was not even a resident of the state and had come from Peshawar, now in Pakistan.
Radha Krishan said that earlier on June 21, 1931, Qadir made a blistering speech at Khan Kahi Moula asking the majority community members to rise against the Hindu King and massacre non-Muslims. Later, he was arrested and charged with inciting communal passions, he added.
He said Kashmiriyat demands that the majority community should apologise for the horrendous acts of that black day and if they have any regard for minority sentiments, they should openly condemn the atrocities of July 13, as the day is celebrated to show appreciation to a fanatic and to keep the communal hatred alive.
On the occasion, Prof RK Kaul, a noted scholar, also spoke about the horrors of 1931 and brought to light the enormity of the first organised brutal carnage of the Kashmiri Pandits by the then Muslim Conference of Kashmir. Shri Kaul scoffed at the so-called martyrs of 1931 and instead called the Kashmiri Pandit victims of the communal carnage the real martyrs.
Dr Agnishekhar, convener, while speaking on the occasion said that the process of genocide of Kashmiri Pandits began in 1931 and culminated in 1990 with the large-scale exodus of the entire population of our community. To observe July 13 as the ‘martyrs day’ in the state is an insult and grave injustice to the sufferings of the Kashmiri Pandits. The process of ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir began with the advent of Muslim rule and there is no change in that mindset even in the 21st century. In 1931, the revolt against the then Maharaja of Kashmir was used as an alibi to perpetrate violence against the minorities in Kashmir.
He further stated that the most shameful aspect of the black day is that the aims and agendas of July 13, 1931, have continued to rule the minds and policies of this state for last 78 years including 61 years of Independence.
He expressed deep concern over the role of the so-called secularist politicians and bureaucrats for their soft approach towards terrorists and anti-national elements.
BJP state president, Ashok Khajuria took strong exception to CM’s statement in which he described July 13 as ‘martyrs day’. He strongly criticised the statement of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, saying that “NC is the torch-bearer of martyrs’ principles”. He further said that such a statement has hurt the sentiments of the nationalist forces in the state.
He remarked that such statements would only promote the cause of the separatists and encourage the anti-national elements. Such a statement, which has come from none other than the Chief Minister himself, is also an indication of the soft approach of the government towards all such elements who indulge in creating a wedge between Hindus and Muslims of the state and towards those who have been causing the communal tension in the state.