Kashmiri leaders barred from visiting graveyard on Martyrs’ Day

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Omar Abdullah - Mehbooba Mufti - Sajjad Gani Lone - G A Mir - Opposition Leaders

SRINAGAR — Leaders of mainstream political parties in the Valley have accused the government of imposing restrictions on Martyr’s Day to prevent leaders from going to Mazar-e-Shohda where a function has been held every year since 1948 in memory of those who revolted against the Dogra rule on July 13, 1931.

National Conference, according to the news agency KDC 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 & ITBP cover will stop me. I’ll walk to where I have to get to & that’s exactly what I’m doing now.”

“Now that I’ve got to the office & will go ahead with my programme, 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.

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

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

Peoples Conference said, “Disturbed by the authorities’ decision to restrict the JKPC Provincial President Kashmir Khurshid Alam movement from paying homage to the martyrs of Kashmir at Mazhar-e-Shohada 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 Mazar-e-Shohda.

“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 honour and remember the martyrs in our hearts and work towards achieving their vision of a just and prosperous Jammu and Kashmir,” he concluded.

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

July 13 was a public holiday in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and a grand official function was held every year on this day where the Chief Minister or the Governor would be the chief guest.

However, the administration dropped the day from the list of gazetted holidays in 2020, after the abrogation of Article 370 and 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 while 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 22 Kashmiris who fell to the bullets of the Dogra army while protesting the autocratic rule of Maharaja Hari Singh.

However, the officials said, this year no mainstream political leader visited the graveyard. They added that there were no restrictions on the movement of people.

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