JAMMU Several organisations representing displaced Kashmiri Pandits observed July 13 as ‘Black Day’, saying on this day in 1931 the community faced “persecution” in the Kashmir Valley.
Members of the organisations held a demonstration outside the Raj Bhawan here, even as Martyrs’ Day was observed in Jammu and Kashmir.
July 13 is observed as Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir as on this day in 1931, 22 people were killed in firing by the forces of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.
Observing July 13 as Martyrs’ Day by political parties and the government in the state is akin to “rubbing salt into the wound of the displaced community”, All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC) general secretary T K Bhat told reporters.
The demonstration was led by ASKPC president Ravinder Raina and over 400 members from the displaced community assembled in front of the Governor’s House.
“This day is being observed by the 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,” Bhat said.
On this day in 1931, the community was subjected to “loot, arson, murder and mayhem on a large scale in the Valley, forcing the Maharaja’s forces to protect them”, he said.
Those who participated in the demonstration included leaders from Panun Kashmir, the All India Kashmiri Pandit Conference and the All Party Migrant Coordination Committee.
Terming the ‘martyrs’ day’ observed on July 13 as a ‘black day’, the Yuva Rajput Sabha (YRS) staged protests here demanding abolishment of holiday on Saturday.
The ‘martyrs’ day’ is observed in Jammu and Kashmir on July 13 every year in memory of those killed in firing by soldiers of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh on this day in 1931, YRS president Surinder Singh Gilli said.
He said the community observed the holiday as a ‘black day’ as it was a reminder of large scale arson, loot and sectarian carnage against the minority Hindus.
Over 300 activists, led by Gilli, gathered here and staged protests against the ‘martyrs’ day’.
Alleging that the incident had not been portrayed right, Gilli appealed to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik to declare July 13 as a working day.
Gilli said the YRS had also urged the Modi government to abolish the public holiday on July 13 and declare September 23 as a gazetted holiday on birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh.