Kashmiris are a nation condemned to facing oppression and tyranny for ages be it the tyrannical Dogra Raj or cruel Indian government and army. People Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control as well as rest of the world observed the 86th Kashmir Martyrs Day on Thursday with the renewal of the pledge to continue their ongoing struggle for the achievement of their right to self-determination and for the freedom of occupied Jammu and Kashmir from the Indian clutches. The day is commemorated in memory of the 21 Kashmiris who were shot dead, one after the other, outside the Srinagar Central Jail by the troops of Dogra Maharaja, where they had gathered to witness the court proceedings against one, Abdul Qadeer, who was being tried for his alleged “crime” of instigating Kashmiri people to defy Dogra rule on 19th April 1931. This incident of brutal slaughter of the Kashmiri youth is a black chapter in the history of Dogra regime but sadly one of the many to come facing the courageous and strong people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Since then, the day has turned into a day of not only grief and commemoration but of a defiance and courage. Courage in the face of Indian oppression imposed on the innocent Kashmiris for merely demanding their basic human right i.e. the freedom of association and the freedom to choose their own destiny as a nation. The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons. These are not merely allegations but proved by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International in their reports one after another. Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered Kashmir…the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) allows troops to shoot to kill suspected militants or arrest them without a warrant…not a single member of the armed forces has been tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir.
Nevertheless, observance of Kashmiris’ freedom struggle during the Martyrs’ Day, every year is reaffirmation of the fact that Kashmiris will continue to fight against Indian illicit occupation. In this context, Youme Shuhada-e-Kashmir is an ideal day for Kashmiris to seek inspiration to take their war of liberation to its logical end. At this time of distress, the people of Pakistan’s side are sharing the grief of Kashmiri freedom lovers. People across Pakistan also observed Youme Shudaha-e-Kashmir on July 13, launching a protest against the oppressive polices of Indian occupation, which have continued against the hapless Kashmiris. Nonetheless, on July 13, all over the world, Kashmiris renew their pledge to continue the ongoing war of liberation for the accomplishment of their right of self-determination and for the independence of Kashmir from the despotic Indian rulers who continue state terrorism in the Indian-controlled Kashmir like the Dogra rulers. In these terms, Martyrs’ Day has become genesis of the Kashmir’s Struggle for independence and we should vehemently participate in commemorating the day to assure our Kashmiri brethren that they are not alone.