SRINAGAR: The ruling BJP stayed away from the official function honouring July 13, 1931 martyrs in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
None of the BJP ministers or leaders including Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nimal Singh visited the martyrs’ graveyard at Naqashband Sahib, Khwaja Bazar in downtown Srinagar to pay homage to July 13, 1931 martyrs.
It was for the third time in three years that BJP ministers and leaders stayed away from official function honouring July 1931 martyrs.
July 13 is observed as ‘Martyrs Day’ in J&K to honour the sacrifices of 22 people killed in 1931 during firing by forces of then Maharaja outside the Central Jail Srinagar, where an in-camera trial of Abdul Qadeer, a freedom fighter, was being held after his arrest in the agitation.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti visited the martyrs’ graveyard and paid floral wreaths on the mausoleum of the martyrs of July 1931.
A contingent of J&K Police posted the bugle and presented the ceremonial guard of honour to the martyrs.
“The sacrifices of July 1931 martyrs led to the dawn of freedom in the State which saw the evolution of a democratic and egalitarian system,” Mehbooba said.
She said the best way to remember the sacrifices of these martyrs was that the people of the State work together in strengthening the democratic, secular and tolerant system in the State which was set up after huge sacrifices and struggles by our forefathers.
Mehbooba said it was satisfying that people of the State cutting across ideological divide were unequivocal in condemning the militant attack on Amarnath yatris.
Several PDP ministers and legislators joined Mehbooba in paying homage to the martyrs.
The opposition National Conference (NC) and Congress leaders also visited the graveyard to pay homage to July 1931 martyrs and flayed BJP for skipping the official function honouring the martyrs.
NC president and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah criticized BJP for skipped the function.
He said the rightwing party plays politics even on issues, which pertain to state recognized martyrs.
State Congress chief G A Mir said none in J&K or country can deny or forget the sacrifices of July 13, 1931 martyrs.
“Any individual or group, whether it be BJP or other group disrespecting July 1931 martyrs of State amounts to disrespecting Constitution of J&K. It is very unfortunate and unacceptable and deserves condemnation,” he said.
Meanwhile, authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar and placed separatist leaders under house arrest to thwart a rally called by separatist leaders.
A police official said restrictions were placed in areas falling under police stations Nowhatta, Safakadal, Zainakadal Rainawari and MR Gunj in downtown Srinagar.
The cops had placed barricades on the roads to restrict the movement of people.
Police detained moderate Hurriyat leader and cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq outside his Nageen residence after he attempted to march towards the martyrs’ graveyard to pay homage to July 13, 1931 martyrs.
“The tyranny and oppression have touched new heights in Kashmir and all rights and liberties of people have disappeared,” Mirwaiz told reporters before being detained by police.
“How long will the government continue policy of restrictions and repression against the people and leadership of Kashmir,” he added.