Preparations of Hari Singh, Sheikh M Abdullah and Indian Leadership for ‘Indian Invasion’ in Kashmir
One of the cherished myths of Indian society and a section of politicians has been the so-called indecisiveness of Hari Singh from 15 Aug to Oct 26 1947 which was broken by tribal invasion. Thus, the paraded myth is that Hari Singh was forced by the circumtances created by Pakistan to accede to india. This myth was again voiced by Mustufa Kamaal, son of Sheikh Abdullah, in 2009.
It is typical of the National Confrence to haunt with the hounds and run with the hare. On one hand, they enjoy fruits of power often at the cost of sacrifices of Kashmiri people, and on the other hand they wish to maintain a psycho-political distance from the tragic history of past 67 years.
However, the truth is out and clear now. Hari Singh was not ditching or in political slumber from Aug-15 to Oct-26-1947. Many offical documents and historical works have brought the truth to light. Maharaja Hari Singh, S.M.Abdullah and Indian leadership were in full preparation to absorb Kashmir into Indian union. The Tribal Invasion was merely a pretext.
The Indian Military adventure of Oct-27-1947 was long in making and suddenness of tribal invasion was invented just to dramatise the event and hoodwink the planning of months before the event. ‘Transfer of Power’ vol. 9, note number 229 shows that Nehru was desperate to invade and annex Kashmir at any cost. Welford Webb, the british resident in Srinagar was of the opinion that Pt.Nehru had planned Kashmir Occupation in July 1946, a year before Indian independence. This clearly shows that at any cost Indian leadership wanted to occupy Kashmir.
Just days before Indian Govt forces offically invaded Kashmir, Pt. Nehru had informed the British PM Mr. Atlee about the so-called national intrests of India in Kashmir. He had told him that it was vital for Indian security as it is surrounded by countries like Afganistan, the then USSR, China and newly formed Pakistan.
Can People who are projecting the ‘Tribal Invasion’ story answer me why and for what reasons Gandhi undertook the Kashmir mission in the first week of August 1947, much before the tribal invasion. Gandhi’s main task was to get Kashmir’s Prime Minister Ram Chander Kak removed because Kak was not in favour of India, but for Independence of Kashmir. After returning to Delhi, Gandhi told Sardar Patel to do something about Kashmir as Hari Singh had accepted to remove his Prime minister Ram Chander Kak. Wilfred Russel writes in his book, ‘Indian Summer’ that the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir, although the overwhelming majority of his subjects were Muslims, was privately seeking pretexts of acceding to India. A good number of books and documents prove that Tribal Invasion was only a myth and long before it was India that had planned to occupy Kashmir.
On 27-Sep-1947 Pt. Nehru wrote to Sardar Patel, ”The approach of winter is going to cut off Kashmir from the rest of India. The only normal route then is via the Jehlum valley. The Jammu route can hardly be used during winter and air-traffic is also suspended. Therefore it is important that something (regarding occupation of Kashmir) should be done before these winter conditions set in. This means practically by the end of October or at the latest, the beginning of Novenber. Indeed air traffic will be difficult even before that.”
In Poonch and its adjoining areas soon after Aug-15-1947 Hari Singh unleashed war on Muslims who were forming majority in the area.
The operations were led by Col. Baldev Singh Pathania and later the opreations were supervised by Lt. Col. Kashmir Singh Katoch who had been ‘loaned’ by the Defence Ministery of India. Arms and ammunation was directly coming from India in bluk. ”For several weeks India had been secretly supplying weapons and ammunation to the Maharaja forces and making preparations for a military advance”, writes Patrick French in his book Liberty or Death.
As Ram Chander Kak was against India, Hari Singh appointed Mehr Chand Mahajan as Prime Minister of the state for further plans. Mahajan was a confidant of Sardar Patel and was highly-communal and anti-Muslim. He was also a sitting judge of Punjab High court. Mahajan formally took over on Oct-15-1947. Before Mahajan took up his appointment, he discussed with Patel about immediate requirement of the state. Patel promised him full support and cooperation on behalf of the Indian Goverment. Sardar Patel also wrote to Hari Singh, ”The Govt. of India fully realized how difficult the situation in the state is and we assure you that the Indian Govt. would do their best to help the state in the critical period.” Meanwhile on the advice of Sardar Patel, Maharaja Hari Singh proclaimed a general amnesty for Sheikh Abdullah and his colleagues.
Meanwhile, the military opreations in Poonch and adjoining areas was in full swing. The dogra forces, armed Sikh militias and RSS bands were wrecking havoc. Muslims were banished, evicted and killed and their houses burnt in the entire belt. Ram Lal Batra, the then Deputy Prime minister, was highly anti-Muslim, communal and on every occassion he used to ask his subordinate muslims that for how long they have been Muslims. Then he would himself answer, “You will come to know that soon.”
Ram Lal Batra was the man who created the myth of ”Tribal Invasion” as under his supervision the ethinic-cleanising of Muslims had started in Poonch and its adjoining areas.
Ethinic-cleanising was pre-planned and when on Oct-27 Indian forces arrived there was sudden surge in killings of Muslims, though massacre was started before 22-Oct-1947. Upto 6th-Nov-1947 nearly half-million Muslims were Killed by Maharaja Forces, RSS men and Sikh forces alone in Jammu region. The most unfortunate part of the story was that after 27-Oct atrocities touched new hights in all areas of Jammu including Kashmir valley. The most infamous massacre of Jammu Muslims under the suppervision of Indian army happned on 5,6 November. Foreign Authors have also confirmed upto 2,50,000 Killings alone in Ist week of Nov-1947.
The London times qouting its special Correspondent in India stated that Hari Singh under the direct supervison assassinated 2,37,000 Muslims using different ani-Muslim forces in Jammu region. Ian Stephen in his book ‘Horned Moon’ writes that till the end of 1947 more than 200,000 Muslims were murdered in one go. In the ‘Spectator’ 16-Jan-1948 Horace Alexander has written that the killings had the tacit consent of state authority and put the figure at 2,00,000.
All this carnage by Hari Singh, under the guidence of Mahajan and Batra with full support of India was designed to change the demography of Muslim State. Many documents suggest that this bloodbath was an organised ‘Holocaust of Muslims’. The carnage of Ist week of Nov-1947 is worst of all. People in Jammu region especially in Chenab-valley belt were asked to surrender, which they did. Then they were shifted to a place which was surrounded by Dogra forces and Indian military. They (Dogra forces) assured them that they will take them to Pakistan. All the people were loaded in Trucks and escorted by forces. Later on RSS and Sikh men, who were waiting for them, dragged them out of vehicles and killed them mercilessly. Women were raped and abducted. People were burnt alive. A little number of victims managed to escape and reached to Sialkot Pakistan. Without the Indian arms and ammunition and active support this holocaust was not possible.
Sheikh Abdullah in his book ‘The Chinar in Flames’ writes, ”There is no doubt that in the intial stage, on occasions the Muslims of Poonch and Rajouri suffered terribly at the hand of Indian Army.”
At a time when dogra forces with the help of India was committing atrocities on Muslims of Chenab-Belt, National Conference and Sheikh Abdullah rose in defence of Chenab-valley Muslims. National confrence on the directions of its founder also sent a fact-finding team to chenab valley which confirmed atrocities. But just a week later when Sheikh Abdullah was appointed as Chief Administrator, he blamed muslims of Chenab Valley as rebels, dacoits, thieves etc.
In these times, Kashmir is facing the problem of not having the detailed documents of the important events of our History and Freedom struggle. Till now our historians have failed in compiling the minutes details of history of Kashmir.
It is our obligation to remember those souls who suffered at the hands of tyrants of different times be it Pre or Post 1947 era. As a tribute to these souls we should teach ‘Kashmir’s own history’ in our schools and colleges. We and our next genreation should be fully aware of our own history.
[Qalandari Meri Kuch Kam Sikandari Se Nahi.
My Qalandar’s state won’t mind Alexander’s might indeed: Iqbal].
Author tweets at @harduk_wav.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.