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Martyr’s day in Kashmir

On 13th of July thousands of Muslims assembled outside the Central Jail and demanded permission to enter the compound and allow Muslim reps to watch the proceedings of the trial. Authorities’ refusal to entertain these demands caused the situation to turn grave. The situation became confrontational when the crowd attempted to force its entry into the compound. Instead of handling the situation with tact, the Governor ordered the Police to open fire leading to the martyrdom of 21 people besides injuries to over forty people.

 It goes to the velour of the ‘Shuhadas’ that according to Mr Wakefield “the wounds of dead Kashmiris (Shuhadas) were all in front”. The mob then set the police quarters on fire and using the blood soaked shirt of a martyr as flag, took the bodies to the Jamia Masjid where these were kept under a vigil for the whole night.

The Maharaja clamped immediate martial law and handed over the city to the army, which encircled the Jamia Mosque. The standoff continued until Shuhada’s were buried in the compound of Khanqah-e-Naqshbandi on the third day of the incident amidst heart-rending incidents of devotion and inspiration. [1]

July 13, 1931 was the instant reaction to two anti-religious events, and the century-old anger bubbled on the streets of Srinagar and also in all major towns of the Valley from Islamabad to Handwara. Later, Jammu province joined as was ruthlessly suppressed by the joint army action of the English and the Dogras,”

The protests against July 13 incidents continued for several months. The protests turned violent in September with the arrest of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and other leaders. Mirwaiz responded by calling for Jihad. Maharaja was forced to promulgate an ordinance called notification 19-L. It had been drafted on the lines of Burma ordinance of 1818. It was also called as Burma ordinance. Non compliance of the ordinance could win a person imprisonment upto three years or flogging upto 30 strips or fine upto Rs 1000. However, the people ignored the ordinance and assembled at Khanyar[2]

A few days before delivering his famous speech at Khanqah-e-Moula, Qadeer was riding with Major Abet, a British army officer, and the former British Resident in Dal Lake in Kashmir Sunflower houseboat owned by one Aziz Wangoo. As they were nearing Hazratbal, Qadeer saw people rushing towards the shrine; he requested Major Abet to drop him on the banks so that he could join the Friday congregation. Major Abet is believed to have said to Qadeer, ‘Tell your God to free Kashmiris from this oppressive rule.’ The British officer’s words inspired Qadeer to deliver the fiery speech.” [3]

“July 13 is an important date in Kashmir history. The day changed the course of Kashmir history. Up to July 13, the struggle was confined to enforcement of rights and it was highly unorganised, but after July 13 it became organised and the leaders made their presence felt. Glancy commission was appointed to look into demands of the leaders,” [4]

It was the first mass awakening against the autocratic rule of the Dogra Maharajas. The events have been well documented by the local as well as foreign authors. The protests starting against the desecration of holy Quran in Jammu had turned into a mass movement against the Maharaja’s autocratic rule.
The real trouble had started after the fiery speech of Abdul Qadeer, the butler of a British resident, at Khanqa-e-Mu’ulla. Qadeer was subsequently arrested and put on trial for sedition. In view of the popular upsurge his trial was shifted to the Srinagar Central Jail. The people were gathering near the Central Jail on the fateful day of July 13 demanding an open trial, when the Dogra soldiers fired on them killing 21 and wounding scores of others. The bodies were taken in a procession for burial and Maharaja imposed Martial law. The events snowballed and thus started the movement for Kashmir’s emancipation. [5]

The story has it that serendipitously, at a major Muslim political gathering of Kashmir on the preceding June 21st, the ‘true problems, demands and aspirations’ of the Muslims of Kashmir got expression in the speech of a totally “unknown, robust Pathan” named Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Never Mind the probable theory that this ‘accidental speech’ had been meticulously planned by the British to destabilize the reign of Maharaja Hari Singh as a little punishment for his patriotic demand for Independence of India from the British in the Round Table Conference.

The Khatri traders of Maharajgunj were looted by crores; Hindu shops from Bohrikadal to Alikadal were raided and burnt, the Tribune reports Hindu boys returning from school being hurled into the river Jhelum, and there was general loot, murder and rape (yes murder and rape too) of the Kashmiri Pandits almost simultaneously in Srinagar and Vicharnag. [6]

As an immediate background to 13 July, we find a quick succession of incidents that hastened Kashmir towards a revolt. First, leading land-holder in Udhampur embraced Islam and the entitlement to all his property was nullified. His property could only be returned to him if he renounced his new faith and went back into Hindu fold. Second, Muslims of a village in Jammu were not permitted to use a ground for Eid prayers despite the place being traditionally used for this purpose. Third, on 29th April 1931, a police sub-inspector interfered in the Eid prayers stopping the Imam from completing the sermon. In another two incidents copies of Qur’an were desecrated. This was the background in which happened the great incident of 13 July, 1931. As one can clearly see that all these incidents were about religious sensitivities, and Dogras violating them guided the Muslim resentment along communal lines. [7]

Martyrs of July 13, 1931

·         1. Khaliq Shora

·         2. Akbar Dar

·         3. Ghulam Ahmad Rather

·         4. Usman Misgar

·         5. Ghulam Ahmad Bhat

·         6. Ghulam Mohammad Halwayi

·         7. Ghulam Nabi Kalwal

·         8. Ghulam Ahmad Naqash

·         9. Ghulam Rasool Durra

·         10. Ameer-ud-Din Makayi

·         11. Subhan Makayi

·         12. Ghulam Qadir Khan

·         13. Ramzan Chola

·         14. Ghulam Mohammad Sofi

·         15. Naseer-ud-Din

·         16. Ameer-ud-Din Jandgaru

·         17. Mohammad Subhan Khan

·         18. Mohammad Sultan Khan

·         19. Abdul Salam

·         20. Ghulam Mohammad Teli

·         21. Fakeer Ali

·         22. Ghulam Ahmad Dar

·         23. Mughli

·         24. Abdullah Ahangar

·         25. Jana

·         26. Rasool Wakroo

·         27. Abdullah Najar, and

·         28. Asadullah Gilkar

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References:

Iftikhar, Momin, kashmir Watch

Rasool PG, Author and Columnist

Qayoom,Shabnam,Kashmir Ka Siyasi Inqilab,

Zaheer-ud-Din, Coulmnist

ASHRAF M, KASHMIR FIRST

Koul, Radhika, Roots In Kashmir

               7.      Mehmood ur Rashid, Greater Kashmir