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Published On:28 October 2010
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

History burdens Kashmir – Aggression by India, Invasion by Pakistan

By Bashir Assad

Separatist leadership in Jammu and Kashmir asked people to observe October 27 as black day and called for a march to United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOG) in Srinagar demanding withdrawal of security forces from Jammu and Kashmir. The authorities, however, clamped curfew in the entire valley and stringent security majors were put in place to foil the proposed march to UNMOG).

On this day in 1947, the Indian security forces landed in Srinagar to push back the tribesmen from North West Frontier Province of West Pakistan who invaded Kashmir on October 22, 1947. The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir on August 12, 1947 had decided to negotiate a standstill agreement with India and Pakistan in order to buy some time to decide about the future of Jammu and Kashmir. It is here that both India and Pakistan interpret the historical developments in their own respective perspectives and claim for the bright pages of the history leaving the dark ones for Kashmiris. Standstill Agreement signed by both India and Pakistan was violated but both blame each other for the violation. India alleges that Pakistan violated the agreement by invading Kashmir, and Pakistan blames India for violation by sending its troops to Kashmir on October 27, 1947. Pakistan justifies invasion by invoking the clauses of agreement that authorize it to operate with the subjects of communications, defence and foreign affairs that had shifted to the government of Pakistan from August 15, 1947, while as India says that only posts and telegraphs and supply of essentials were the subjects operation for Pakistan in the agreement. India blames Pakistan for invading Kashmir and occupying its one part illegally in violation to the standstill agreement it had entered with the Maharaja of Kashmir.

The battle over pages of history, in fact, is being fought in Kashmir that has been changed into a battleground since 1943, and the Kashmiris have, of course, become fodder for the battle. Interestingly the battle has dimensionally changed to strategic warfare with international communities also using Kashmir for furthering their agenda in the subcontinent. There are no two opinions about the fact that Pakistan’s juggler vein mantra and India’s integral pooh-pooh is less for the people of Jammu and Kashmir than the strategic importance of the land in question. That is why both the countries are vigorously pursuing their agenda at the cost of poor conflict ridden Kashmiris.

Now, when the separatist leadership in Kashmir have asked the people to observe October 27 as black day, one needs to ponder over the pages of history to have an honest opinion about the historical facts.

At the time of the transfer of power, Maharaja signed a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan and proposed one with India as well, but announced that Kashmir intended to remain independent. However, his rule was opposed by Sheikh Abdullah, the popular leader of Kashmir's largest political party, the National Conference, who demanded his abdication.

Pakistan, attempting to force the issue of Kashmir's accession, cut off supplies and transport links. The chaos in Punjab resulting from partition had also severed transport links with India, meaning that Kashmir's only links with the two dominions was by air. Rumours about atrocities against the Muslim population of Poonch by the Maharajah's forces caused the outbreak of civil unrest. Shortly thereafter, tribesmen from the NWFP of Pakistan crossed the border and entered Kashmir. The invaders made rapid progress towards Srinagar. The Maharaja of Kashmir wrote to India, asking for military assistance, offering an Instrument of Accession and setting up an interim government headed by Sheikh Abdullah. The accession was accepted, but Pandit Jawaherlal Nehru declared that it would have to be confirmed by a plebiscite.

The Indian security forces on October 27, 1947 landed in Srinagar to secure, Jammu, Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir. But the intense fighting flagged with the onset of winter, which made much of the state impassable. Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, in a move that baffled political and military strategists in India, declared a ceasefire and sought UN arbitration, arguing that India would otherwise have to invade Pakistan itself, in view of its failure to stop the tribal incursions.

Though the move of Pandit Nehru surprised many in India, it was astounding for the people in Jammu and Kashmir as some time was required by the Maharaja and his people to weigh the issue of accession. In principle, Sheikh Abdullah and his party rejected any possibility of accession to Pakistan since it attacked Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah also flew to New Delhi in October 1947 and appealed to Indian Cabinet to dispatch armed forces to help Maharaja’s forces for expelling the invaders. Maharaja had been requesting India for supplying petrol and ammunition on payment basis. Tribesmen from NWFP marched into Kashmir (J&K) openly on August 21, 1947. Maharaja of J&K requested India for petrol and ammunition in October 1947. Maharaja appealed to India for military help on October 24. A Defence Committee headed by Mountbatten considered the request of Maharaj Hari Singh for supply of arms and ammunition on October 25 but the Indian Cabinet was of opinion that it could not send troops to Srinagar unless J&K acceded to India. VP Menon, Secretary in States Ministry, was sent to Srinagar to explain to Maharaja the position. He met Maharaja. Menon found conditions grave in Srinagar and advised Maharaja to leave for Jammu so that raiders are not able to lay hands on him directly or with local help. Maharaja Hari Singh left Srinagar by car and reached Jammu in the morning of October 26. Menon succeeded in making Hari Singh a little soft towards Sheikh Abdullah. VP Menon returned to Delhi from Srinagar on October 25. Defence Committee again met on October 26 and decided to accept the instrument of accession if executed by the Maharaja. Menon again came to Jammu with the Draft of Instrument of Accession on October 26 itself. Maharaja had travelled during last night from Srinagar and was in sleep. VP Menon got the instrument of accession signed by Maharaja on October 26 and carried to New Delhi under a covering letter the same day.

Mountbatten formally signed the acceptance on October 27 and returned a copy of instrument under cover of a letter to Maharaja. And the first contingent of Indian troops landed at Srinagar airport in the morning of October 27, 1947. Sheikh Abdullah was invited by Maharaja to form an interim government and work with his Prime Minister. Most of the area of Jammu Province of Maharaja’s J&K fell to Pakistan after October 26, 1947. In Kashmir, except Muzaffarabad, all area had been cleared of the Pakistani raiders by November 10, 1947.

It was on January 1, 1948 that India approached UN Security Council with complaint against Pakistan. It was exactly after one year on January 1, 1949 that India declared ceasefire with the intruders from across the borders of J&K with Pakistan. Maharaja announced on March 5, 1948 a popular government to be there in State.

The plebiscite was never held, and on January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India came into force in Kashmir, but with special provisions made for it in the Constitution's Article 370. India did not, however, secure administrative control over all of Kashmir. The northern and western portions of Kashmir came under Pakistan's control in 1947, and are today referred to as 'Pakistan-Administered Kashmir' by the Indian government.

The presentation of Kashmir Case by Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan administered Kashmir in the European Parliamentary Hearing held on October 13, 2010 contradicts the version offered above at certain points. According to Attique India committed aggression on October 27, 1947, when she landed her troops in Kashmir. The Standstill Agreement offered to Pakistan on August 12, 1947 by Maharaja Hari Singh the last ruler of Kashmir and duly accepted and signed by the Government of Pakistan. Under the agreement the subjects of communications, defence and foreign affairs had shifted to the government of Pakistan from August 15, 1947. India landed her troops in Kashmir on October 27, 1947. Thus airdropping of Indian troops by Indian government constitutes a grossest violation of that agreement between the Maharaja and Pakistan government. By international law India stands aggressor in Jammu and Kashmir as it violated the suzerainty of government of Pakistan by landing her military personnel for the purpose of occupation of the State. Attique was, however, silent on invasion of tribesmen, though he referred to it as duty of Pakistan under the agreement to supply essentials to the state.

Anyways, 63 years have passed and India and Pakistan are yet to decide who the aggressor was and in quest to claim the pages of the history, three generation of Kashmiris have been consumed while as the two nation states could not make headway. Past looms large, present spoils and future undecided for Kashmiris. The ultimate losers are Kashmiris and the two countries have achieved a lot for their respective people. The notion that India and Pakistan are investing in Kashmir is cynical. In fact, Kashmir had been invested by both for their geo-political advantages.

[Bashir Assad is a senior Journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. He has now joined IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief of J&K. He can be contacted at bashirassad@rediffmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on October 28, 2010. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on October 28, 2010. Filed under . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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