Kashmiris from all over the world are observing Kashmir Martyrs’ Day today (Monday) to pay tribute to the martyrs of July 13, 1931.
On Kashmir Martyrs’ Day, people are marking the sacrifices made by brave Kashmiris in their struggle for a safe homeland.
On the July 31, 1931, the troops of Dogra Maharaja had killed 22 Kashmiris, one after the other, outside the Central Jail in Srinagar during the court proceedings against one Abdul Qadeer who had asked the Kashmiri people to defy the Dogra rule.
There are several eyewitnesses accounts, local stories, and news reports about what actually happened on the unfortunate but historic day in Srinagar. The reliable documentation of July 13, 1931, is done by two writers in their authentic books.
In Srinagar on July 13,1931, when it was time for Namaz-e-Zuhr, a young man, started the call for prayer but was shot dead by the Maharaja’s soldiers.
According to reports, 22 youth sacrificed their lives till the completion of Azaan.
The ‘Inside Kashmir’ written by Prem Nath Bazaz and published by Kashmir Publishing Company in 1941 and ‘Tarikh-i-Hurriyat’ written by Rashid Taseer and published by Kapur Brothers Lal Chowk Srinagar narrate events of the day.
Another incident took place in Srinagar on June 20, 1931, when leaves of the Quran were found in a public latrine. This incident worked as fuel on the fire and Muslim gatherings started taking place in the city for raising the voice against the religious rights of Muslims.
A man Abdul Qadeer who was an employee of a British Army officer became center-point of the religious right campaign when he addressed a public meeting at Kanqah-i-Maula.
In his speech Abdul Qadeer said:
“The time has now come when we should not meet force by great force to put an end to the tyrannies and brutalities to which you are subjected, nor will they solve the issue of disrespect to Holy Quran to your satisfaction. You must rely upon your own strength and wage a relentless war against oppression. We have no machine guns. But we have plenty of stones and brickbats”.
His speech was recorded by the CID and when he returned to Naseem Bagh that night, he was followed and arrested on June 24 from the house-boat of his employer and charged under section 124-A and 153 of the Ranbir Penal Code.
His trial started on July 4, 1931, in the Court of the Sessions Judge which was established inside Central Jail of Srinagar.
On July 13, Court Hearing, thousands of Muslims assembled outside the Central Jail. After the entry of the session Judge, they demanded permission to enter the compound. According to an estimate, four to five thousand people went witness the trial. Before the session began, a group of about two hundred people entered the compound and remained in peace outside the Jail Guard Lines.