Every freedom struggle has a definite moment, a bench mark that ignites the power keg of history and sets into motion the inexorable march of people towards the destiny of freedom. For the people of Jammu and Kashmir the incident happened on 13 July 1931. The day marks the martyrdom of 21 Kashmiris who laid their lives during an assault outside the Srinagar Central Jail. All these 21 young kashmiris were gunned down by the Dogra army.
The history has noticed it and the incident laid the foundation of the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris who raised their voices against the tyranny of the Dogra regime. Subsequently they were suppressed through different repressive measures. It started with restrictions on Eid sermon at Jammu followed by the discretion of Holy Quran by Dogra soldiers.
The fiery speech by Abdul Qadeer Khan added fuel to the already existing anger. He was immediately arrested on charges of the sedition and the trail was held in central jail Srinagar. The arrest brought out the people on streets from every corner of Kashmir. Central Jail was stormed by the protesters. The protests against the Dogra tyranny frustrated the Dogra army who went on rampage. They fired indiscriminately on people leaving 21 young Kashmiris dead.
The procession used the blood soaked shirt of one martyr as flag and took the bodies to Jamai Masjid Srinagar where they were kept under vigil for whole night by the people. The Maharaja immediately imposed martial law and handed over the city to the army which encircled the mosque. The standoff continued until the shuhdas were buried in the compound of Naqsband Sahab and the sight of these graves has come to be known as the "Mazare Shuhda".
The incident of brutal slaughter of Kashmiri youth is a black chapter in the history of Dogra regime. Since then people of Kashmir from different political affiliations visit the compound to pay tributes to the first martyrs of Kashmir. And the day, 13th July came to be known as "Youm-e-Shuhda".
Every year people remember these noble martyrs who dedicated their lives for the noble cause of freedom and honour. These martyrs made a huge contribution towards the evolution of freedom struggle of Kashmir. They gave people courage to raise their voices against the century old tyrannical Dogra rule. And gave them a hope of a free and undivided Kashmir which was realised in1947. But unfortunately the dissolution of Dogra tyranny was followed by another and different kind of oppression.
Nearly one lakh Kashmiris have died in a conflict spanning 63 years. India and Pakistan have fought three wars on Kashmir and still they have not reached to any practical solution yet. Ever since armed militancy took centre stage in Kashmir from 1989 custodial killings, rapes, murders have become common in Kashmir. Every new dimensions have been added to the conflict. Terms like forced disappearances, half widows have now become part of our terminology.
The uprising initiated on 13 July 1931 continues till date. In between valley has witnessed massive destruction viz-a-viz human resource and infrastructural development. The impact of the sacrifice of 13 July 1931 martyrs becomes much more relevant today when India is employing all delaying tactics to avoid the implementation of plebiscite as directed by United Nations. Its resolutions passed have still not been implemented.
The dispute has taken lots of lives. It is time that the sufferers (Kashmiris) of the dispute deserve to see an end to mayhem and all the bloodshed.
The author can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org