13 July 1931: Restrictions, shutdown cripple Kashmir, JRL stopped from rally

The 22 martyrs of 13 July, 1931, buried in Martyrs' Graveyard at Khawaja Bazar, Srinagar. Photo: Muhabit-ul-Haq

As usual authorities Thursday imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar and placed pro-freedom leaders under house arrest to thwart a rally called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) in wake of Martyrs Day.

Kashmir’s top religious cleric and pro-freedom leader, Mirwaiz Dr Molvi Muhammad Umar Farooq was detained after he tried to tried to march towards the martyrs’ graveyard at Naqshbandh Sahib in Srinagar’s old city to pay homage to July 13, 1931 martyrs.

Mirwaiz who is under house detention came out from his Nigeen based residence where he was stopped by a group of policemen and was shifted to police station Nigeen.

A spokesperson of Hurriyat (M) said that as soon as Mirwaiz stepped out of his Nigeen residence and started marching towards old city, he was detained by a posse of police deployed outside his home. Mirwaiz has been lodged in Police Station Nigeen.

On the call of JRL a complete shutdown marked the Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir Valley while authorities resorted to clamp-down and imposed restrictions to foil the proposed march by Joint Resistance Leadership.

It was on July 13, 1931 when 22 Kashmiris were gunned down by the army of autocratic Dogra ruler after the people rose against Maharaja’s rule for their rights.

JRL had urged the people to march towards the Martyrs’ graveyard at Naqshband Sahab in old city to pay tributes to the 1931 martyrs.

As the morning broke, heavy contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF men sealed all the entry points to the city by erecting barricades and concertina wire on the roads to restrict the movement of people.

Shops, business establishments and other commercial establishments remained closed while public transport was off the roads. Mostly CRPF and police personnel were seen dotting the roads.

In old city, the force personnel wearing battle fatigue patrolled the lanes and by lanes in a bid to restrict the movement of residents and to thwart any protests.

In Nowhatta, Safakadal, Zainakadal Rainawari, MR Gunj and other places, the forces had erected hurdles to restrict the movement.

“We were not allowed to go outside. Whosoever tried to step out was driven away by the police and CRPF men. We were forced to stay indoors,” Muneer Ahmad, a resident of Nowhatta locality said.

In Civil Lines, complete shutdown was observed. Force personnel had erected the barricades at Panthacowk and Shalteng crossing to prevent vehicles coming from south and north Kashmir to enter Srinagar.

In north Kashmir’s Baramulla, Sopore, Zainageer, Rafiabad, Kupwara and Bandipora areas, complete shutdown was observed. The shops were closed and no public transport plied on the roads except some skeletal private transport. The situation in the volatile South Kashmir, however, remained peaceful. People observed complete strike in Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and other areas. Concertina wires were laid in different parts of these districts to restrict the movement of the people.

Shutdown was also observed in Budgam and Ganderbal district of Central Kashmir. (CNS)

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