Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik Saturday skipped the official function at the Martyrs' graveyard in Srinagar and instead deputed his advisor for paying homage to the people killed in firing by forces of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh on this day in 1931. Malik's predecessor N N Vohra had also skipped the official function last year but did pay homage to the martyrs of 1931 in 2017.
However, Malik in his Friday's message on the eve of Martyrs' Day called for collective efforts from all sections of the society to secure rapid growth and development of the state on all fronts. The governor said Jammu and Kashmir has always been known for its glorious pluralistic ethos and harmony and emphasised the crucial importance of maintaining unity and brotherhood for ushering the state towards peace and prosperity.
Governor Malik's advisor Khursheed Ahmad Ganai on Saturday laid floral wreaths on the graves of the 22 people who were killed in firing while protesting against the autocratic rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, senior PDP leader A R Veeri and Congress leader Peerzada Sayeed were among the host of mainstream politicians who paid homage to the martyrs.
Separatist leaders, including moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaz Umar Farooq, were placed under house arrest to prevent them from visiting the graveyard. The separatists have called for a shutdown as a mark of respect to the martyrs' of 1931 and to press for resolution of the Kashmir issue.
Authorities have imposed restrictions on the movement of people in the old city as a precautionary measure for maintaining law and order, officials said. Normal life in the valley was severely affected due to the separatist-sponsored strike as shops and other business establishments remained closed while public transport remained off the roads, the officials said.
They said some private vehicles, however, could be seen plying various intra-city and inter-district routes of Kashmir. Pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath was suspended for Saturday as a precautionary measure in view of a separatists-sponsored strike in the Kashmir valley on Martyrs' Day, officials said.
As many as 12 batches of pilgrims have so far left for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir valley from Jammu since the beginning of the pilgrimage on June 30. "Amarnath yatra has been suspended from Jammu as a precautionary measure in wake of the strike called by separatists in Kashmir valley Saturday," an official said.
Several organisations representing displaced Kashmiri Pandits observed July 13 as 'Black Day', saying on this day in 1931 the community faced "persecution" in the Kashmir Valley. Members of the organisations held a demonstration outside the Raj Bhawan in Jammu, even as Martyrs' Day was observed in Jammu and Kashmir.
Observing July 13 as Martyrs' Day by political parties and the government in the state is akin to "rubbing salt into the wound of the displaced community", All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC) general secretary T K Bhat told reporters. "This day is being observed by the Kashmiri Pandit community as 'Black Day' since 1932 in commemoration of the persecution that was inflicted upon the community on this fateful day in the valley of Kashmir," Bhat said.
On this day in 1931, the community was subjected to "loot, arson, murder and mayhem on a large scale in the Valley, forcing the Maharaja's forces to protect them", he said. Terming the 'martyrs' day' observed on July 13 as a 'black day', the Yuva Rajput Sabha (YRS) staged protests in Jammu demanding abolishment of holiday on Saturday.
The 'martyrs' day' is observed in Jammu and Kashmir on July 13 every year in memory of those killed in firing by soldiers of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh on this day in 1931, YRS president Surinder Singh Gilli said. He said the community observed the holiday as a 'black day' as it was a reminder of large scale arson, loot and sectarian carnage against the minority Hindus.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)