Every year, Kashmir Martyr’s Day is observed on 13 July to commemorate the sacrifice of the 21 Kashmiris who were martyred outside Srinagar Central Jail by the troops of Dogra Maharaja in 1931. On 19 April 1931, the Dogras banned the Eid sermon, causing widespread outrage and protests. The Dogras tried to suppress the protest with brute force and even desecrated copies of the Holy Quran. Further infuriating the Muslims.

In retaliation, a meeting was held in Khanah-e-Muella, Srinagar, which was attended by prominent Kashmiris. During meeting, a young man, Abdul Qadir, pointing towards the palace of the Maharaja, shouted; “Destroy its every brick”. He was arrested under the charge of sedition and instigating the Kashmiris to defy Dogra rule. Fearing disturbance and disruption, Abdul Qadir’s trail was held in the courtyard of Srinagar Central Jail where thousands of Muslims gathered awaiting the result of the trail. On 13 July 1931, while the trail was in progress, the time of Zohar prayer approached. A young man arose for the Azaan but he too was shot dead by Dogra policemen. Another young man tried to continue the Azaan but he too was shot dead. Till the completion of the Azaan, 21 Kashmiris embraced Shahadat (Martyrdom) in the process. Every day is Martyrs Day since nary a day goes by that innocent Kashmiris are not targeted with impunity. Draconian laws like the Terrorist Activities and Disruptive Act (TADA), Prevention of Terrorism Act(POTA), Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act(PSA) have been used to suppress the Kashmiris without fear of reprisal from the judiciary.

After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A, Indian machinations are aimed at changing the demographic composition of Kashmir and affecting the communal harmony of the occupied Kashmir. The aim is to absorb Indian Occupied Kashmir as another Indian state like Bihar and Punjab by revoking its special status granted under article 370 and governing it directly, like the incessant suppression of Palestinians in Gaza by Israel, India continues to repress Kashmir. The world’s conscience must awaken to get Kashmiris their right or Kashmir Martyrs Day will continue to be observed in vain. 

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