Kashmir based organisations every year pay glowing tributes to “Martyrs of July 13, 1931”. Jammu Virasat decides to tell you the story behind the day and leave it to you as how you would like to treat those “martyrs”.
Maharaja Hari Singh had been popular among the masses for initial years of his rule. His popularity started fading due to high taxes and unemployment. A common matter in every country.
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In Round Table Conference of 1930, in London, Maharaja Hari Singh advocated India’s right to independence. He also put example of communal harmony in J&K to prove that Hindus and Muslims could live together peacefully in India also.
The British had been already been trying hard to settle their residents in Jammu and Kashmir. They were successful in doing so earlier but when in 1925, Maharaja Hari Singh ascended the throne he immediately asked the British resident in Srinagar to remove the Union Jack from the Residency Building.
The British were alarmed. Since they were experts in the policy of ‘Divide and Rule’, they started hatching plans for communal discord in the state to put Hari Singh in troubled waters.
They started supporting local opposition to the Maharaja. Situations were created to create communal tension among communities in Jammu as well as Kashmir.
Arrival of the ultimate villian
In June of 1931, came Abdul Qadir as a cook with a European military officer in Srinagar. Remember, Abdul Qadir was a Pathan, and not Kashmiri as propagandists might say now!
A meeting was called in Khanqah-i-Mohalla by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, father of Farooq Abdullah. It was a meeting of all Muslim scholars.
Abdul Qadir, who had also participated, stood up at his turn and said these words:
“The honor, respect, and relevance of the Holy Quran are dearer to the Muslims than the ruler ship of the world. Oh, Muslims arise! Time is near when you shall reply with stones, against the bricks. I warn you that your representatives and memorials cannot come to your rescue, now will these papers remove injustice and misery. You must stand on your legs and fight against the autocratic force. Even if you have no arms, you can fight with sticks and stones”
Then he pointed the Mahajaraja’s palace and clamoured to raze the building to ground.
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So far everything about this episode is clearly seditious!
He was arrested under charges of sedition and put in Central Jail of Kashmir. Mobs gathered outside the jail and started demanding his release. Just like we see mobs today coming to the rescue of pinned terrorists!
The mob went unruly and destroyed public property, cut water and electricity lines. A riot like situation arose inside the jail also. Mobs were getting crazy and were plundering shops and houses of minority community all this while. They went on to loot Hindu shops at Safakadal, Ganji and Nawakadal. This was followed by atrocities committed against the Hindus living there.
As a last resort, the police was ordered to fire to disperse the crowds. 22 people died in the event.
This is the story. Some remember the day as a Black day because their communal motives weren’t fulfilled while some observe it as a Black day because their houses and properties were plundered.
Now it your turn to find the martyrs in the story as we couldn’t find any!