M J Aslam
Fifthly, the Maharaja was steadily losing control over large parts of his State (in Poonch areas, Rawalkote) and to deal with the urgency, he had to have the support of SMA. By the time of M C Mahajan’s appointment as PM of JK, the Maharaja through his Deputy Prime Minister, RL Batra was already engaged in parleys with Sheikh Abdullah, then still in prison (but under much improved conditions) on the kind of terms which might secure SMA’s freedom in exchange for his assistance to the Maharaja’s Government over the accession question. 16.
Sixthly, SMA in the cited 36th chapter has not only condemned the Pathans’ attack on Kashmir on 23rd October in harshest language but has leveled all kinds of abuses and charges against them. This narrative is shared almost by all Indian authors in unison for obvious reasons. However, SMA is totally silent in this narrative under this chapter 36 of his autobiography about the following facts:
In the months of August-September, armed gangs of Hindus and Sikhs who had started pouring in three predominant Hindu districts of Jammu after fleeing from NWFP and West Punjab following Partition had started large scale atrocities on the local Muslim population in collaboration with the Dogra Army. 17.
(2) By the 15th August, there were many meetings and demonstrations in Poonch (95 % Muslim) in favour of Kashmir joining Pakistan. Martial law was introduced and meetings fired upon. Then, the whole district except for Poonch city itself was in rebel hands who were ex-Servicemen of the Anglo-British Army. 18.
(3) As the Muslims fell to “the bullets & swords of Hindus & Sikhs, in tribal areas the Pathans called for a holy war of revenge against their bothers killers”. 19. Evidence showed that Dogra forces were “combing out all those who are known to be supporters of Kashmir’s accession to the Pakistan Dominion”. There were “innumerable instances of looting of the houses of political workers. In Baramulla and Rampur, several people have been shot dead on the mere suspicion that they were welcoming the armies of liberation” (tribesmen). 20.
(4) On the basis of recorded versions of several foreign authors and historians, it has been held that tribal invasion was a natural reaction of the Pathans against Dogra and Sikh atrocities on their Muslim brethren of J & K and that it was not possible for Pakistani authorities even to stop them, keeping in view their centuries old traditions of helping their coreligionists against any non-Muslim oppression. 21.
(5) On 13th July, 1953 at Mazar e Shudah, Srinagar SMA said: “all the stories of killings and looting that were spread and narrated [by NC cabals] among the Kashmir masses have on an investigation been found totally baseless and unfounded”. 22. “Don’t use cuss words against them because they (Pathans) were angels. We had maligned them under compulsive situation”. SMA confessed before a well known Kashmiri poet in Jammu in 1953 who later conveyed it to the publishers of Shabnum Qayoom’s book. 23. These admissions of SMA himself leave no further scope for discussing the propaganda that NC and its cadres had launched against the tribal people to ensure that JK was smoothly glided down the Indian way. 24.
(6) The Massacre of 13th July 1931, outside Central jail, Srinagar, had motivated and mobilised thousands of volunteers across United Punjab to enter the territory of Jammu & Kashmir to express solidarity with its oppressed Muslims and huge demonstrations by Kashmiri-Muslims against the ruler’s atrocities espoused by those Punjabi Muslim volunteers, forced the Maharaja to form the Gallancy Commission. 25 No allegations of excesses whatsoever were leveled against those Muslim volunteers of Punjab by Muslims of JK as the Movement was purely ‘Muslim’ in character that time and SMA was, then, one of leading campaigners for “rights of oppressed Muslims” of JK.
(7) SMA has written several “canards” in the chapter 36 about tribal savagery; one of which, he writes, was blowing up of Mohra hydroelectricity power station in Uri by tribals that plunged entire Srinagar city in darkness for some time. Actually, on 24th October, 1947 the staff of the hydroelectric power station had abandoned their posts on hearing Dogra troops were retreating whom they mistook as raiders. For a while, the lights of Srinagar went out, an event which has produced its own mythology. It was blown out of proportions by cadres. Some Indian writers have described in obsessive detail the way in which the “tribal raiders” systematically destroyed equipment at the power station. 26.
16). Alaistar Lamb, Kashmir: A disputed Legacy (1991), pages 129-130; emphasis applied; 17). A M Mattu, Kashmir Issue , Historical Perspective (2002) pages 48-53; Kashmir Watch, 16-11-2017, Jammu massacre of 1947 that was shrouded in Kashmir-happenings of that time; 18). Josef Korbel, Danger in Kashmir (1954) page 68; The Statesman (Calcutta), February 4, 1948; 19). Ibid, page 72; 20). Ibid page 73; 21). Shabnum Qayoom, Comprehensive History of Kashmir (2014), Volume 3rd, page 170; Josef Korbel, Danger in Kashmir (1954), pages 73-75; 22). Ibid; supra Shabnum Qayoom, Page 176; 23). Ibid; 24). See for example his speech in UN GA on 5th February, 1948 (He remained totally silent on Jammu massacres of lakhs of Muslims & Kashmir killings, respectively, by Dogra & Indian forces (at Solina bund) during those days); 25). Qudratullah Shahab, Shahabnama (2016) page 369-371; 26). Alaistar Lamb, Birth of a Tragedy (1994) page 83: “This was the work of demolition experts and not mere tribals”, Rajesh Kadian, Karhmir Tangle. Issues and Options, (1992 New Delhi), page 821.
—The author can be reached at: [email protected] Views expressed are the author’s own.
To be Continued…