Pandit Group Says Calling July 13 ‘Martyrs’ Day’ Adds Salt to Wounds

Khalid Jehangir : ‘The 1931 martyrs have no relevance for us‘ 

Jammu: A hardline Pandit group on Monday held protests as it marked the incident of July 13, 1931 as ‘black day’ even though the state observed the day as Martyrs’ Day.

“This day is being observed by Kashmiri Pandit community as Black Day since 1932 in commemoration of the persecution that was inflicted upon the community on this fateful day in the Valley of Kashmir,” said Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, the president of Panun Kashmir, which seeks separate homeland for Pandits.

Chrungoo claimed that on this day in 1932 the community was subjected to loot, arson, murder and mayhem on a large scale in the Valley.

He said the observance of July 13 as the Martyrs’ Day by political parties and the government in the state was akin to rubbing of salts into the wounds of the minority community.

He said that the members of the community had taken up the issue with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during a meeting in New Delhi a couple of days ago.

July 13 is observed as Martyrs’ Day to mark the death of 21 protesters in firing by Dogra Army outside Srinagar Central Jail in 1931. The day is observed as an official holiday in the state every year.

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Monday attended the Martyrs’ Day function, from which its coalition partner in the state BJP kept away. The official function at the Naqshband Sahib Martyrs’ graveyard in Srinagar was presided over by the Chief Minister but the BJP ministers did not show up.

BJP spokesman for Kashmir, Khalid Jehangir said, “The 1931 martyrs have no relevance for us as a party. If they do not respect our leaders like Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, why should we (reciprocate)?”

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