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OpinionsNeed to set the record straight: Truth must be known

Need to set the record straight: Truth must be known

Date:

Brig Anil Gupta




According to Mahajan, “my impression of Sheikh Abdullah was that he was out to gain power at any cost. To acquire it he would try to influence his friend, the Prime Minister of India, but would not disdain the use of any other means such as creating some kind of an uprising in the State.” Prior to his departure to Delhi in October 1947, Sheikh had an audience with the Maharaja. Mahajan along with the Deputy Prime Minister was present during his interview with His Highness. Mahajan recorded, “the burden of his talk was that His Highness should trust him and handover the administration of the State to him. He would then behave like a dutiful son and loyal subject. Though he was swearing loyalty and allegiance to His Highness, he desired that the Maharaja should only remain as a constitutional ruler and real power should be delegated to him.”
Sheikh's intent is clearly exposed. His pro-Nehru and anti-Jinnah stance is also based on the same logic. It is not that Sheikh was against the “two-nation” theory but was solely interested in becoming ruler of Kashmir which he felt would be easier under Nehru due to his friendship with him. Nehru and Mountbatten even knew of the Pakistan plan to invade Kashmir in October to forcibly annex the state but did not share the same with the Maharaja and instead used as a leverage to handover administration to Sheikh Abdullah before entertaining any request for military assistance.

Pakistan launched operation Gulmarg as per plan on 22 October which was preceded by cross-border raids and economic blockade in September. Historians have been very unfair for not recording the valour of Dogra soldiers who faced the invaders despite being betrayed by their Muslim compatriots and heavily outnumbered. Moreover, British Chief of the State Forces had, before leaving the state, so dispersed the army in small units in far flung areas that they had ceased to be effective as a cohesive force. Mahajan writes, “In Muzaffarabad and Domel, the gateway to Kashmir, there was only a battalion of State Forces commanded by Colonel Narain Singh, but this unit had about 40 percent Muslims who could not be trusted in the communal situation that had arisen. Despite the word from Maharaja to disarm this part of his unit Col Narain was not ready to do so on the plea that they were his most loyal soldiers and had served under him in Burma and elsewhere in the Great War. He met his death at the hands of his own Muslim soldiers who joined the raiders. Large number of fellow Dogra soldiers were also assassinated at Domel.” It was the treachery of Muslim troops of the State Forces that opened the road to Muzaffarabad and Srinagar. But the Dogra soldiers fought last man last round and tried to prevent them from reaching the capital Srinagar.

Had Nehru not been adamant and accepted the accession earlier, the Indian Army could have been deployed well in advance of the Pakistani invasion preventing creation of POJK and the inhuman rape and plunder that followed the invasion. Nehru's blind love for Sheikh is the root cause of creation of POJK.
VP Menon, Secretary of the Ministry of States arrived in Srinagar on 25th October. He along with Lt Col Sam Manekshaw and a few Air Force officers was sent by Delhi to assess the ground situation. As per Mahajan, “He came straight to my residence and told me that he had come there to take me to Delhi. Nothing about military aid he said could be decided till my arrival there.” They both met the Maharaja same day and Mahajan was ordered to accompany him to Delhi the next day. He flew with Menon to Delhi on 26th morning.

Later in the meeting of Defence Committee request for military aid was agreed to. Nehru was still dillydallying supported by Mountbatten? He said how forces can be sent at such a short notice on spur of the moment and when the military situation was not clear, knowing fully well that Indian Army was already prepared with contingency plans. He finally conceded under pressure from Patel and in the wee hours of 27th October began the airlifting of Indian Army troops.
The bravery of Lt Col Ranjit Rai and valiant troops of 1SIKH, D Company of 4 Kumaon under the leadership of Major Somnath Sharma coupled with the bravery of Dogra troops under Brig Rajinder saved Srinagar from falling in the hands of invaders. Readers for themselves can assess the role of Nehru and Sheikh.
Another, “manufactured fact” often stated is that the accession by the Maharaja was conditional. As per Mahajan, “After landing at Safdarjung airport, I immediately drove in a waiting car to the Prime Minister's House on York Road. In view of the advance of the raiders towards the towns of Baramulla and Srinagar, I requested immediate military aid on ‘any terms.' Hand over political power to any one you like.” The situation was so critical that Maharaja sought military aid on “any terms”, then how could he ever had laid any conditions for the accession that followed. In fact, he was forced to hand over the emergency administration to Sheikh to satisfy Nehru.
By end 1948, the British having achieved their objective of the frontier areas including Gilgit and the western hilly tracts of Mirpur, Kotli, Muzaffarabad firmly in hands of Pakistan, used the services of Mountbatten (who had already left in June 1948) to convince Nehru to agree to ceasefire. The military commanders were not in favour of the ceasefire and demanded few more weeks from Nehru to free the entire area in view of the successes achieved in the months of October-November. Nehru rejecting the military advice announced a unilateral ceasefire wef November 01 sacrificing national interest over his friendship with Mountbatten.
The above mentioned facts are meant to let the truth be known to all including those who are blinded with their love for the Kashmiri version.
(The author is a based political commentator, political analyst, security and strategic analyst. The views expressed are based on extensive research. He can be contacted at anil5457@gmail.com)

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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