Reads dismissal of Sheikh govt as New Delhi’s attempt to regain control over Kashmir situation that was slipping out of hand
Srinagar: The US had neither conspired with nor supported Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s plans for an independent Kashmir in 1953, a charge that earned him a long prison sentence, recently declassified CIA documents reveal.
On 9 August 1953, then prime minister Sheikh’s government had been toppled, and 30 top officials had been sacked, on charge of conspiring with the US to make Kashmir an independent state.
“The press and public figures as well as government officials in both India and Kashmir have directly or indirectly accused foreign powers, and in some instance the United States specifically, of conspiring with Sheikh Abdullah to make Kashmir an independent state. The Indian government claims to have documentary proofs of American intrigues. The alleged conspiracy has been used to explain why a shift of government has become necessary. The American embassy in New Delhi reports that Indian officials and public are convinced of American interference in Kashmir affairs,” the CIA’s classified document August 11, 1953, reads.
“There has been no American meddling in Kashmir,” the secret document reads.
The document said that Adlai Stevenson, the US presidential candidate in during the mid fifties and US ambassador to the UN, who had been alleged to have supported the idea of independent Kashmir, had privately denied to the US officials of any such involvement.
The CIA document further states it might have been possible that Kashmiri communists might have provided the alleged proof to discredit the United States.
“The American embassy in Delhi suggests the further possibility that the accusation was manufactured in India to provide a credible excuse for dismissing Sheikh Abdullah, and simultaneously warning USSR (erstwhile Russian federation) to keep their hands off Kashmir,” the CIA documents reveals.
The CIA document stated that the Sheikh-led government was deposed by Nehru-led Congress government in New Delhi on August 9 was an Indian attempt to regain control of the political situation that was rapidly going out of hand.
“Indian Prime minister’s August 10 (1953) statement in parliament that his government has been advising Kashmir officials on means of stabilizing the situation indirectly gives the lie to claims that India had no foreknowledge of recent events,” the CIA document states.
Giving reason as to why political instability was marring Kashmir, the report states that problem began to develop when a three-way cabinet split involving “Sheikh, pro-Indian elements and communists” occurred.
“It apparently came to head early in July, when Nehru was preparing to meet the Pakistani Prime minister in Karachi to discuss Indo-Pakistan disputes. At this time Nehru was unsure of its hold on Kashmir,” the document states.
It added Sheikh and his colleagues were ousted by New Delhi to regain the political situation in Kashmir which was going out of hand.
“Abdullah’s replacement with pro-Indian prime minister Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad was planned during the first week of July (1953), when Bakshi conferred with Indian government officials in New Delhi. At this time Bakshi reportedly offered to arrange the complete accession of Kashmir to India if he were given prime ministership,” the report states.
After the deposition of NC led government, the CIA document reported that Kashmiri police had controlled a few sporadic protests that erupted against Sheikh’s arrest.
“Prime Minister (Ghulam Mohammad) Bakshi with the additional strong Indian support being given him should be able to deal with Sheikh Abdullah’s following. He should also be able to silence the newly-vocal pro Pakistan elements who have just reorganized themselves politically. He may have some trouble with the communists unless they are evicted from the government positions,” the document had concluded.