The National Conference (NC) accused the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday of using dilly-dallying tactics of not allowing the party leaders to pay homage to the July 13, 1931 martyrs, who were killed in firing by the Dogra Army outside the Srinagar Central Jail. The NC said it had sought permission from the administration to offer “Fateha" (special prayers) and floral tributes at the Mazar-e Shohada (martyrs’ graveyard) in the Khawaja Bazaar area of the city on Tuesday.
“However, the administration, till Monday evening, has not responded to our repeated calls," NC spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said in a statement. The party took strong exception to the measure and decried the “dilly-dallying tactics" of the government, calling it unfortunate.
Dar said the party has decided to refrain from holding a big commemorative function at the spot because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related standard operating procedure (SOP). The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) also said it has sought permission from the Srinagar district administration, but there has been no response from the authorities so far.
In a letter written by party secretary Abdul Hameed Kohsheen to the Srinagar district magistrate, the party said a delegation intends to visit the martyrs’ graveyard and seeks permission and a time slot for the visit. Meanwhile, NC president and Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah and party vice-president Omar Abdullah paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of 1931, calling the day a landmark in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.
Recalling the sacrifice of the July 13 martyrs, Farooq Abdullah said the day is an important landmark in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, which will never go out of sight. He said the implications of the day thickened over time and resulted in the transformation of the erstwhile state from a feudalistic to a democratic one.
“The brave men who laid their lives on July 13, 1931 belonged to a generation of wisdom and vision. They saw in darkness and despair, a vision for the forthcoming generations, they envisioned a society free from bondage, discrimination and oppression," the NC president said. He said every year, the supreme sacrifice of the martyrs of July 13, 1931 is remembered, adding, “On the day, we should reiterate our commitment to the ideals of our revered martyrs, whose every drop of blood is sacred to us." Abdullah paid “earnest tributes to all the martyrs who laid their lives on that day to secure a new dawn of freedom for future generations".
“The martyrs of 1931 will continue to be a beacon of light for us and the coming generations. Every single drop of their blood is sacred to us," he said. Omar Abdullah said the day marks the “collective defiance of the oppressed".
“The day is the watershed moment in the people’s struggle for the restoration of their universal human rights. It was their valour that inspired millions of others to rise against the then despotic and autocratic regime. “We observe the day to reiterate our commitment to fight evil with kindness, violence with non-violence and peaceful struggle. On this day, I pay my humble tributes to all the martyrs, who laid their lives for securing a dignified life for future generations," he said.