Srinagar: Abdul Qadeer, said to be a disciple of Jamaal-ud-Din Afghani and an adherent of his ideology of pan-Islamism had came to Kashmir in 1931 in the garb of a cook from Northeast Frontier Province of British India, asked people to revolt against the autocratic ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh.
In the lawns of Khanqah-e-Moula, a revered shrine of Kashmir situated on the banks of River Jhelum, Qadeer spoke and spoke hard about Maharaja, few weeks prior to the bloodbath of July 13.
“Destroy its every brick” historians quote Qadeer as having said while pointing a finger towards the palace of Maharaja.
The fiery speech about the very idea of freedom from autocracy and despotic rule aroused huge sentiments among people and send shock waves to Hindu Maharaja of Muslim dominated Kashmir who after receiving the information of rebellious activities ordered the arrest of Qadeer on charges of sedition.
Few days later, Qadeer was arrested and tried for sedition. The arrest, however, followed the never before reaction from Kashmiris as people from all corners of Srinagar and elsewhere in Kashmir, took to streets to resent the Qadeer’s arrest.
Dr. Shiekh Showkat Hussain, a professor and political analyst in Kashmir says that it was for the first time that resistance, that had been restricted to local level till then, took a larger shape and turned into a state-wide uprising.
“It started from Jammu against the disrespect of Quran by soldiers of Hari Singh and culminated in Srinagar in the form of massive protests by people. For some period, the uprising remained confined to the demand of action against those involved in sacrileges. Then a strange voice echoed to give a direction to it. It was voice of Abdul Qadeer, who asked people to address the root cause of their deprivation and subjugation,” says Hussain.
Qadeer professed it was the despotic rule of Hari Singh which had rendered people helpless and subjected them to indignation with respect to their faith, says Hussian.
“His words catalyzed transformation of society.”
The protests intensified in Valley and large gatherings were reported from several places demanding that Qadeer be tried in open but Maharaja refused the demand. His trial in the Sessions court was instead shifted to Central Jail, Srinagar.
While the hearing against Qadeer was going-on inside, thousands of people assembled outside the main gate of Srinagar Central Jail and chanted slogans against the ruler and demanded withdrawal of sedition case against him.
“The surging protesters outside were infuriated and later clashes erupted between Royal Dogra Soldiers and people. The soldiers were pelted with stones who retaliated with cane-charging to disperse the protesters,” says Hussain.
When the time for Zuhr prayers approached, a young man stood for Azaan (call for prayer).
“On the instructions of Maharaja, Royal Dogra Army subjected the demonstrators to indiscriminate firing. Scores were martyred and many others wooded in the force action. The injured and the dead were taken in huge procession to Jamia Masjid,” he says.
Dogra rule came to an end with “accession” of the J&K to Indian union. Hussain says, “accession” was supposed to be endorsed by people of the state through internationally supervised plebiscite.
“Instead of seeking endorsement of accession through plebiscite, Indian union proceeded with establishment of a scandalous constituent assembly having 73 out of 75 members elected without contest. Though, attempts were made in the past and in present to betray this aspiration but the reality is that masses have shown time and again that they remain, and will continue to remain the custodians of this aspiration,” he said.
The bodies of the martyrs were taken in big processions and buried in a graveyard within the premises of revered shrine of Khawaja Bahaw-ud-Din Naqshbandi, Khawaja Bazar, in Srinagar.
While the July 13 is observed ‘Martyrs Day’ in Valley, on the other side in Jammu, a section of people have started observing this day as ‘Black day’, saying the martyrs had rebelled openly against the government.
The Baratiya Janta Party, on the other hand, want this day to be observed as a just ‘normal day’ without giving importance to historical incident.
“We neither want this day to observed as black day or martyrs day, but just a another normal day,” Ramesh Arora, an MLC with BJP said.