Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday paid tribute to Kashmiris on the 91st Kashmir Martyrs Day (Youm-i-Shuhada-i-Kashmir), saying they had kept the “flame of freedom” alive despite Indian aggression.

It was on July 13, 1931, when tens of hundreds of Kashmiris had gathered outside the premises of Central Jail in Srinagar where Abdul Qadeer, a resident of British India, was being tried on sedition charges, for inciting Kashmiris against the Dogra ruler at a gathering in Khanqah-i-Muallah.

At the time of midday prayer, one of the crowd members stood to make a call to prayer and was shot dead by the police. He was succeeded by another member who met the same fate. In all, 22 men rose to complete the call to prayer and all were shot dead.

Kashmir Martyrs Day also used to be observed in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). However, in December 2019, four months after revoking the special status of the occupied valley, the BJP government removed this day from the territory’s official holiday list.

In a tweet paying tribute to Kashmiris, PM Shehbaz said: “Kashmir Martyrs Day is a reminder of sacrifices Kashmiris have rendered for their inalienable and UN-sanctioned right to self-determination. The flame of freedom from the Indian yoke has been kept alive by generations of Kashmiris in the face of Indian tyranny and oppression.”

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