Kashmir shuts on Martyrs Day, CM Mehbooba Mufti invokes Kashmiriyat
BJP leaders did not join the chief minister in paying tributes to the martyrs as the party considers the 1931 uprising a ‘black day.’india Updated: Jul 13, 2017 15:07 IST
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday invoked the memory of 21 Kashmiri protestors killed during a 1931 uprising to call people to “fight those spreading fear” in the state even as her ally BJP skipped the Martyrs Day programme.
Dressed in her trademark green attire, Mufti visited the old city graveyard in the morning to offer special prayers and floral tributes to the protestors executed by the army of the erstwhile Dogra ruler.
Those “martyrs” gave their lives for the establishment of a “democratic and happy Jammu and Kashmir,” she said, calling upon people to fight those “creating” fear and holding the state hostage.
She also called to uphold the Kashmiriyat spirit that was witnessed in the unequivocal denunciation of attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag on Monday.
“We should remember our basic trait of Kashmiriyat that was displayed after the attack on Amarnth yatris when we came together, irrespective of our ideologies, to denounce it. It gave a message to the world that Kashmiriyat is alive,” she added.
To mark the day, Kashmir valley observed a shutdown amid restrictions imposed by police. The day is venerated by both mainstream politicians as well as separatists and is an official holiday in the state.
But no leaders of the BJP, a coalition partner in the Mufti-led government, joined chief minister in paying tributes to the martyrs on the occasion as it considered it as a “black day.”
The protestors were killed by the army of Maharaja Hari Singh when Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state. They had been protesting the arrest of a freedom fighter outside the central jail in Srinagar.
Separatists Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik called for a shutdown to mark the day and announced to hold protest rallies. While Geelani and Mirwaiz are under house detention, Malik has been lodged in the central jail.
There were heavy deployments of police and CRPF on the roads as shops remain closed and traffic off the roads in most parts of the Kasmir valley . The authorities have imposed restrictions on the movement of people in the old city to avoid any untoward situation.
Meanwhile, just meters away from the old city graveyard where chief minister paid tributes to martyrs, at Pandan there were wails by relatives of Sajad Ahmad Gilkar, a 25-year-old youth who left home 14 days ago to join militants and was killed in an encounter with security forces in central Kashmir on Wednesday.