Observation of so called Martyrs’ day (July 13, 1931) should cease now as the events like this leverage fundamentalists and intolerant forces of the Valley.
While remembering July 13, 1931 a Kashmiri blogger writes “The observance as such adds insult to injury that the day, when the Kashmiri Hindus were subjected to mass persecution, loot and rape, has been designated as the official martyrs’ day by the political class of the Valley.” Every year many protests happen across the state against this official celebration of so called Martyrs’ Day. Intensifying their protest this year also a delegation of Kashmiri Hindus has submitted a memorandum to Dr Jitendra Singh, MoS, PMO.
Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, Grandfather of Omar Abdullah and father of Farooq Abdullah, had started celebrating this day officially since 1953 and had also declared a state holiday on the occasion. Kashmiri people other than Islamic fundamentalists see this day as day of horrific loots, murders and rapes. Implausibility of Sheikh Abdullah was apparent to the people who know that Sheikh Abdullah had founded Muslim Conference in 1932. Please remember Muslim Conference was renamed as National Conference in 1939 only to look secular. Renaming was a lowly manipulation as it couldn’t change the basic instinct. Declaration of so called Martyrs’ Day by Sheikh Abdullah was the affirmation of this fact.
Establishment of Islamic order, the dream of Shariya Law is not new. It was there before Ottoman Empire of Turkey fell dreaming of an Islamic unity for rule of Islam, it was there hundreds of years back during Mughal Rule and even before a thousand year just after advent of Islam. We have seen it in the rule of Taliban in Afghanistan and we are witnessing it through ISIL of Syria. We hear Fatwas and Islamic inspiration in today’s India and 1931 was no different for the Muslims of Kashmir.
During the round table conferences of 1930 in London, Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir had supported the Independence for India. It was Maharaja Hari Singh who publically while addressing Round Table Conference proclaimed in front of the British crowd that, “I am an Indian first and then a Maharaja”. This proclamation of Maharaja Hari Singh turned British rulers against him.
English had started ploy. Nothing was easier than Islamic instigation even in 1930s. Suddenly a ‘completely’ unknown ‘pious and religious’ minded Pathan, Abdul Qadeer Khan, surfaced. He happened to be a butler of an English Army official (can’t be just a coincidence!). On June 21, 1931 he had delivered a speech publically (obviously after a lot of homework on fan-following) where he talked about how the holy Quran and the teachings of Islam had been violated by the Hindu rulers of Kashmir and asked the people to fight for rule of Shariya. People went into frenzy like we see today at many occasions in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Syria. Everyone wanted to kill/loot/rape Kafirs, just like it is happening to the Yazidis of Iraq. Subsequently, communal protests took place in Srinagar, Vicharnag, Ananatnag and Shopian. The Minority Khatri traders of Maharajgunj were looted, Hindu shops from Bohrikadal to Alikadal were raided and burnt, Hindu boys returning from school hurled into the river Jhelum. Administration took step and Abdul Qadeer Khan was arrested. A charged crowd attacked the Central jail of Srinagar on July 13, 1931 and forced security personnel to open fire. Some hooligans were killed who later became martyrs for some Kashmiris just like the way terrorist Afzal Guru is for them.
When government is planning on the return of Kashmiri Hindus, who feel just like the blogger in the first line, end of manipulating culture of Valley becomes a prerequisite. Celebration of martyrs’ day should cease now as the events like this leverage fundamentalists and intolerant forces of the Valley.
(The writer is a researcher at J&K Study Center, New Delhi)