Srinagar, July 12: July 13th remembered as martyrs day as Kashmiris struggled against tyranny and for freedom. The protests to overthrow oppressive monarchy and feudalism were joined by mass of workers and peasants and other sections of the population who were suffering from age old oppression and exploitation. Though the leaders of the protest movement had many rounds of negotiations with the then Maharaja and his associates but all in vain. The ruler and his administration played tricks including communalizing the atmosphere to break the movement.13th July proved to be a turning point. In a large gathering of people that had assembled to demand the release of their leaders, was indiscriminately fired by government forces killing number of unarmed protestors.
There are attempts by communal forces to undermine the historic significance of this day. The sacrifices of the martyrs did not go in vain and resulted in end to the autocratic rule and feudalism.
J&K has a glorious tradition of societal harmony which has survived many challenges. Those elements who are trying to shatter the secular and plural ethos of J&K should not be allowed to succeed in their nefarious designs. Martyr’s Day serves as a reminder to protect and promote the rights of people and their dignity.
J&K has made significant strides since then including landmark Agrarian Reforms, empowerment of the people, universalisation of free education, women empowerment, decentralization of power etc.
It was due to the sacrifices of July 13 martyrs which ultimately led for ‘Naya Kashmir’ which is notable for its humanistic and progressive view of development. To protect the unique identity of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, constitutional guarantees under Article 370 were provided by the Constituent Assembly of India after long debate. This process enabled the people of Jammu and Kashmir to have their own Constituent Assembly, which alongwith ratifying Article 370 also adopted its own constitution as well.
However, unfortunately on August 5, 2019, BJP government unilaterally abrogated J&K’s special status thereby assaulted the very basic structure of the Constitution of India and our relationship with the union. It has only deepened the political uncertainty and disillusionment among the people of all the regions and communities.
It is high time that political parties in J&K, cutting across the ideological divide, introspect as what went wrong and unitedly strive for the rights of people of this region. That would be the best tribute to the martyrs of July 13, 1931.