Each year 5 February is marked as "Kashmir Day" throughout Pakistan since 1990 when Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the then Amir of Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan, had given a call to mark this day as a day of solidarity with Kashmiris. His call was supported by the then Chief Minister of Punjab, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto government in Islamabad officially declared this day as Kashmir Solidarity Day. However, the first Kashmir Day wasn't observed on 5 February. It was commemorated on 14th August 1931 by Dr. Muhammad Iqbal of All India Kashmir Committee. This day was marked in solidarity with the martyrs of 13th July, 1931.
Unfortunately, in the midst of Kashmir Day and Martyrs' Day (13th July), an equally heart-wrenching incident of much historical importance has been forgotten.
It was winter of the year 1932, the killing spree which had started on 13th July 1931 did not end. After the Central Jail (July, 1931), Islamabad (September, 1931), Baramullah (September, 1931), Shopian (September, 1931) Srinagar (January, 1932), Mirpur (January, 1932), Kotli (January, 1932), Baramulla (January, 1932) Rajauri (January, 1932), Handwara (January, 1932), and Sopore Massacre (January, 1932) of the Muslims where altogether more than hundred civilians were martyred, this time Uri became the victim of the state terrorism.
On 5 February, 1932 when the Muslims of Uri were celebrating Jumat-ul-Vida (the last Friday of Holy Ramadan), they were fired upon by the Dogra Forces as they were peacefully protesting against the massacres of Muslim civilians by the state forces during the month of January earlier that year, as a result, 9 attained martyrdom whereas 50 were injured.
According to Khalid Bashir Ahmad, a well-known Kashmiri historian, as the protestors were marching towards Idgah, they were fired upon by the state forces without any provocation. But this butchery did not end here. Even the funerals weren't spared. When people were taking the dead for the burial, they were again fired upon, leading to more casualties. In all, 19 people were gunned down and atleast 50 arrested. He further writes that according to the Special Correspondent of the Oriental News Service, an eyewitness to the carnage, the events "were of the most tragic character." When the people were returning from Idgah, a Dogra soldier seized a man named Fattu Beg and severely assaulted him. As he raised his head from the ground, Raja Singh, a non-Local Hindu Zaildar pounced on Fattu and put three bullets into him. Killing him on the spot.
Among the martyrs, the names that have survived neglect and forgetfulness are Sardar Fateh Baig (Uri), Faqir Abbasi and Mir Ahmed Meer (Barian), Chaudary Ghulam Muhammad (Gohalan), Niaz Ali (Dachi), Said Shah (Dahni Cholan), Jumma and Syed Hasan Shah (Cholan), Gama (Khalana), Rajwali (Kalki), Ghulam Muhammad (Jabla) and Fattu Beg. [Source Raja Sajjad Latif Khan, An Overview of Kashmir History: 1827 to September 2014, JKLC]
Although Uri Massacre has nothing to do with the date of Kashmir Solidarity Day, in fact the former has been masked by the latter, we should not forget that this day is also a Martyrs' Day. While observing the Kashmir Day, one should not overlook the martyrs of Uri who laid their lives on the same day.
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the editor of the Kashmir Discourse.
Author hails from AJK, Pakistan and is a medical student at Rawalpindi Medical University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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