Speakers at an event held in Washington to pay homage to Kashmiri leader Maqbool Butt on the 39th anniversary of his martyrdom said on Saturday that he laid down his life for the cause of Kashmiri people’s freedom from India’s yoke. At a gathering in a local restaurant, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, chairman of the ‘World Forum for Peace & Justice’, said Butt was a selfless and inspirational soul. Dr. Fai said before his hanging on trumped-up charges in New Delhi’s notorious Tihar jail, Maqbool Butt wrote his will, saying, ‘There will be many Maqbool Bhats that will come and go, but the freedom struggle in Kashmir should continue’.” “Today,” Fai stressed, “the whole nation of Kashmir is following the footsteps of Maqbool Bhat for the liberation of their motherland: Jammu & Kashmir.” Underscoring that the mission of Maqbool Butt is alive. Fai said, “Today, he is an inspiration to millions of Kashmiris and those striving for human rights, human dignity and right to UN-pledged self-determination.” Sardar Zarif Khan, secretary-general of the Kashmir American Welfare Association (KAWA) said that Maqbool Butt believed in the Kashmir cause passionately. He said that the killings of innocent civilians in Indian-occupied Kashmir must shake the conscience of all peace-loving people. He condemned India’s campaign to muzzle the press, and demanded the right to assemble and freedom of expression in Indian-occupied Kashmir. The ultimate sacrifice of Shaheed Maqbool Butt will not go in vain, Zarif Khan said, adding that the blood of Kashmiri martyrs brings the goal for freedom and justice nearer. Shoaib Irshad, joint secretary of KAWA, said that Maqbool Butt was a charismatic leader whose supreme sacrifice will inspire Kashmiris for ages. Irshad emphasized that the brutalities of the Indian government could not and should not go unnoticed. “It is the responsibility of the Kashmiri diaspora to be the voice of voiceless people in the corridors of powers all over the world.” In conclusion, the gathering demanded of the Indian government to return the mortal remains of Shaheed Maqbool Bhat and Shaheed Afzal Guru to their relatives in Kashmir.