J&K: Kashmir Martyrs’ Day not observed for first time since 1948

PDP chief and former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti paying tributes at the Martyrs graveyard in Downtown Srinagar, in 2017. (Twitter)

Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): No holiday was observed in Jammu and Kashmir today to observe ‘Martyrs’ Day’, for the first time in the history of Kashmir since 1948.

No official function was held to commemorate the Martyrs’ Day in J&K, for the first time, according to a J&K administration official.

On July 13, 1931, 22 Kashmiri people were killed in a revolt against Dogra forces led by the then Maharaja Hari Singh. All the governments who ruled J&K since 1948 had been observing this day and it was also marked as an official holiday.

Since the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year, the BJP-led government at the Centre had its reservations over observing this day and July 13 was omitted as a holiday in the new year calendar (2020).

“Official function to commemorate the martyr’s day was not held as the official holiday of July 13 in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir was omitted after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A in August last year,” said an official in the J&K administration. “In December last year, the list of gazetted holidays had no mention of Martyr’s Day on July 13, which was observed in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir to pay homage to July 13, 1931 martyrs,” he added.

Regional political parties used to pay homage to the martyrs on this day while the successive governments would organize official functions to commemorate this day in the erstwhile State.

Kashmir, in the past, has commemorated July 13 as Martyrs’ Day and Chief Minister, Ministers and DGPs would pay tributes at the official programmes across the erstwhile state.

However, following the revocation of Article 370 on August 5 last year, the Government had issued a list of gazetted holidays for the newly carved out Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, wherein July 13 was omitted from the list.

The then prime minister of J&K, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, had declared day in memory of those who revolted against the Dogra rule on July 13, 1931.

December 5, the birth anniversary of former J&K Prime Minister was also omitted from the list of official holidays in December last year.

In the new list of gazetted holidays, the government, however, declared October 26 as a gazetted holiday. On this day in 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh had signed the “Instrument of Accession” with the dominion of India.