The Bold Voice of J&K

Jammu and Kashmir little known facts 1947 – Pakistan invasion

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  Y. R GUPTA

The main invasion was planned and launched by the Army Hqrs of Pakistan and was called “Operation Gulmarg”. It was to begin from Muzaffarabad on 22nd October, as stated by Major Onkar Singh Kalkat who could know about this plan while in Pakistan from the letter written by the highest Army authority of Pakistan British C-in-C on arrival in India. This fact was brought to the notice of Brig. Kulwant Singh and other concerned Army officers and also Sardar Baldev Singh, the Defence Minister, by him. The plan of invasion was also confirmed by D.K Reddy, a Journalist. The Govt. of India however did not take the matter seriously even when day to day infiltration had already been reported to them by the Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir right from 3rd Sept.1947.
The Jammu and Kashmir Govt. had no knowledge of this planned massive invasion from Abbatabad side. The stoppage of supplies “Economic Blockade” had already created a very serious situation in the state.
The State Govt. tried to persuade Pakistan through the diplomatic channels to honor its commitments under the “standstill agreement”. Failing to get a positive response to its numerous communications the Prime Minister of Kashmir sent a rather strongly worded telegram to the Governor General of Pakistan, Mr.Jennah on 18th Oct. 1947, which read “Finally the Kashmir Govt. wish to make it plain that it is not possible to tolerate the attitude longer without grave consequences to life and property of the people which it is bound to defend at all costs. The Govt. even now hope that you would personally look into the matter and put a stop to all the iniquities which are being perpetrated. If unfortunately this request is not heeded the Govt. fully hopes that you would agree that it would be justified in asking for friendly assistance and oppose trespass on its fundamental rights”.
A cable was also sent on the same day to the Prime Minister of U.K. apprising him of the situation created by the influx of Armed Pakistanis into the state and stoppage of all supplies and requested that the dominion of Pakistan may be advised to deal fairly with Jammu and Kashmir.
The Governor General of Pakistan took no notice of the allegations made by Kashmir Govt. and instead made counter charges of repression by Dogra forces.
While this exchange of telegrams was going on, preparations were afoot at Abbattabad for a large scale invasion of Kashmir. A large number of soldiers and officers of the Pakistan Army including those on leave were deputed to organize and assist about 5000 tribal’s that had been assembled there in the name of “Jehad”. The invasion was to be lead by Maj Gen Akbar Khan of the Pakistan Army who was given the name of “Gen Tariq”.
These hordes that entered the State along the Abbattabad – Muzaffarabad – Domel – Srinagar road on 22nd Oct, 1947 formed the spearhead of the final and the biggest blow by Pakistan against the State. Its object was Kashmir Valley and the capital city Srinagar.
And also almost simultaneously new thrusts were made all along the borders of the State – Pakistan including Gilgit but this master plan to occupy Srinagar failed by the timely arrival of air borne Indian Troops in Srinagar.
The Armed Forces of the State which had to defend about 600 miles long frontier with Pakistan and to also meet the threat of internal uprising were quite inadequate to meet the situation. These had been spread all along the frontier at the time of invasion. The mixed 4th Bn was Incharge of the Muzaffarabad – Kohala Sector. The State troops were efficient and brave, but were ill equipped. The loyalty of the Muslim personnel of the Armed Forces was doubtful as the state authorities had received information about their plans of sabotage and desecration in collaboration with Pakistan Army. Col. Narain Singh who commanded the 4th Bn Incharge of the Muzaffarbad Kohala Sector was warned to remain alert and careful about the Muslim personnel but he expressed his full faith in them. But subsequently he had to pay a heavy price.
In view of these circumstances the rapid advance of Pakistan hordes after they had once broken through the outer defenses should cause no surprise. Their main column entered the State at the dead of night on 22nd Oct. 1947. The Muslim personnel of the state pickets not only joined hands with them but killed their Hindu companions in their own tents and began to lead the convoy of motor vehicles supplied by the Pakistan Govt. for carrying the invaders. After occupying the strategic Krishan Ganga Bridge without much difficulty entered the town of Muzaffarabad without firing a shot. Here thousands of men, women and children were mercilessly killed, women raped and abducted. The town was set on fire and simultaneously looting started. A few of them(raiders) crossed over to Domel. The Muslim pickets joined with them and Col.Narain Singh was shot dead by his own Muslim sentinel in his own tent itself. The occupation of Domel brought both the roads leading to Srinagar from Rawalpindi and Abbatabad came under the control of the invaders. The road to Srinagar now lay open. The raiders occupied Garhi the same day and started their advance towards Uri. The few Dogra troops resisted them at every step. Brig. Rajinder Singh the Chief of Staff of the State Army then came forward to command the troops in person. He stemmed the tide of the enemy advance near Uri for two days. He fought the enemy to the bitter end. He along with his 150 soldiers were cut into pieces in this action. On the same day the Mohaara Power House was also damaged and so put out of order (24th Oct.). This plunged Srinagar into darkness. On the 24th afternoon Maharaja Hari Singh who was holding Dussehra Darbar sent an urgent appeal for help to the Govt. of India. He in his letter stated:
“I have to inform Your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request immediate assistance of your Government.
As Your Excellency is aware, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has not acceded to either the Dominion of India or to Pakistan. Geographically my State is contiguous to both the Dominions. It has vital economic and cultural links with both of them. Besides my state has a common boundary with the Soviet Republic and China. In their external relations the Dominions of India and Pakistan cannot ignore this fact.
I wanted to take time to decide to which Dominion I should accede, whether it is not in the best interest of both the Dominions and my State to stand independent, of course with friendly and cordial relations with both.
I accordingly approached the Dominions of India and Pakistan to enter into a Standstill Agreement with my State. The Pakistan Government accepted this arrangement. The Dominion of India desired further discussion with representatives of my Government. I could not arrange this in view of the developments indicated below. In fact the Pakistan Government under the Standstill Agreement are operating Post and Telegraph system inside the State.Though we have got a Standstill Agreement with the Pakistan Government, that Government permitted steady and increasing strangulation of supplies like food, salt and petrol to my State.
Afridis, soldiers in plain clothes, and desperadoes, with modern weapons, have been allowed to infilter into the State at first in Punch area, then in Sialkot and finally en masse in the area adjoining Hazara district on the Ramkote side. The result has been that the limited number of troops at the disposal of the State had to be dispersed and thus had to face the enemy at several points simultaneously and it has become difficult to stop the wanton destruction of life and property and looting. The Mahoora Power House which supplies the electric current to the whole of Srinagar has been burnt. The number of women who have been kidnapped and raped makes my heart bleed. The wild forces thus let loose on the State are marching on with the aim of capturing Srinagar, the summer capital of my Government, as a first step to over running the whole State.
The mass infiltration of tribesmen drawn from the distant areas of the NWF Province coming regularly in motor trucks using Maneshra-Muzaffarabad road and fully armed with upto date weapons cannot possibly be done without the knowledge of the Provincial Government of the NWF Province and the Government of Pakistan. In spite of repeated appeals made by my Government no attempt has been made to check these raiders or stop them from coming to my State. In fact both the Pakistan Radio and Press have reported these occurrences. The Pakistan Radio even put out a story that a Provisional Government has been set up in Kashmir. The people of my state, both the Muslims and non-Muslims, generally have taken no part at all.
With the conditions obtaining at present in my State and the great emergency of the situation as it exists I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion. Naturally, they cannot send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to the Dominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so and I attach the Instrument of Accession for acceptance by your Government. The other alternative is to leave my State and my people to freebooters. On this basis no civilized Government can exist or be maintained. This alternative I will never allow to happen so long as I am the Ruler of the State and I have life to defend my country.
I may also inform Your Excellency’s Government that it is my intention at once to set up an Interim Government and ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities in this emergency with my Prime Minister.
If my State has to be saved immediate assistance must be available at Srinagar…”
The Sheikh had already sent his family to Indore for safety and himself slipped away to Delhi.
Before taking any action on the Maharaja’s request for help the Govt. of India decided to send V. P Menon to Srinagar to get first hand information. He flew to Srinagar on the 25th October. He soon realised the desperateness of the situation. Menon therefore advised the Maharaja to leave immediately for Jammu to be out of reach of the Pakistani invaders.
The Maharaja left Srinagar for Jammu that very night (25th October 1947) and Menon and the Kashmir Premier Mr.Mahajan flew to Delhi early next morning.(26th October 1947).
On receiving the report from Menon the Govt. of India felt inclined to go to the rescue of the State. But it was not possible before the accession of the State takes place. Hence Menon flew back to Jammu immediately with the Instrument of Accession. On reaching Jammu he contacted the Maharaja who was in sleep at that time after a long journey, who at once signed the Instrument of Accession. Menon flew back to Delhi along with the legal
documents.

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