Table of Contents
   Index
   Secessionist Movements
- Article 370
- Interim Government
- The Plebiscite Front
   Muslim Militancy
- The Gathering Storm
- War of Attrition
   Disinformation Compaign
- Political Alienation
- Muslim Precedence
- Economics of Militancy
   Genocide of Hindus
- The Minorities
- Quit Kashmir
- Darkness at Noon
- The Exodus
- Ethnic Cleansing
   Search for Refuge
- Leave Salary
- Scorched Earth
   Book in pdf format  

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Chapter 1
Secessionist Movements

The present crisis in the Jammu and Kashmir State is a continuation of the Muslim struggle in India for an independent Muslim homeland, which culminated in the separation of the Muslim majority provinces of Sindh, North-West Frontier Province, and Buluchistan, the Muslim majority areas of West Punjab and East Bengal and the Muslim majority division of Sylhet of the Hindu majority province of Assam, to form the state of Pakistan. The All-lndia Muslim League, which spearheaded the Muslim struggle for Pakistan, claimed all the Muslim majority provinces, including the whole of the provinces of the Punjab and Bengal, along with the Hindu majority province of Assam. Among the Princely States, which were organised into a separate political organisation by the British, outside British India and which were governed by the British Paramountcy, the Muslim League claimed the Muslim majority Princely States, as well as the States which were ruled by the Muslim Princes, the former on the basis of their Muslim population and the latter on the basis of their treaties with the British Government. 

The British divided India, separating the contiguous Muslim majority provinces and divisions to constitute the state of Pakistan and left the Indian States intact, restoring to their rulers, the powers which they exercised by virtue of the Paramountcy. The Indian States were not brought within the scope of the partition and with the lapse of the Paramountcy their rulers wcre accorded technical independence to determine the future affiliation of their States. The last Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was entrusted with the task of dividing India insisted upon the application of the partition to the States, and he told the Princes in unequivocal terms to accede to either or the two Dominions of India and Pakistan, keeping in view the geographical contiguity and the demographic composition of their States. The British had far-reaching interests, political as well as strategic, in the Muslim crescent, which spread from Sindh, Kutch stretching along to Sinkiang, on the western fringes of China. Jammu and Kashmir State was the most vital link in the Muslim crescent, which the British, after they had withdrawn from India, would depend upon, for the protection of their interests in Asia and the security of their maritime commitments in the water ways of the Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the high seas opening into the South Pacific. 

The League rejected the extension of the partition of India to the States, lest the Muslim-ruled States with Hindu majorities, were lost to Pakistan. Indeed, the Muslim rulers had lavishly funded the League movement for Pakistan and the League won the referendum in the NorthWest Fronlier Province with the help of the huge funds, the Muslim rulers of Hyderabad, Bhopal, Junagarh and Rampur made available to the League leaders. The League leaders insisted upon the acceptance of the lapse of Palamountcy and the rights of the rulers to accede to the Dominion they considered to be in their interests. 

The Indian National Congress too, rejected the application of the partition of India to the States, but demanded that the people in the Indian Princely States, a quarter of the total Indian population, inhabiting one third of the territories of India, be assured the right to determine the affiliations of their States. Except for the two large States of Kalat and Bahawalpur, which were Muslim States and fell within the geographical boundaries of Pakistan, and the major State of Jammu and Kashmir, which was situated on the borderland of both the Dominions, all the other Indian States were Hindu majority States. In the Jammu amd Kashmir State, the Hindus and the other minorities, which formed a quarter of the population of the State and the Kashmiri-speaking Muslims, who formed more than half the Muslim population of the State, were opposed to the League demand for Pakistan and had fought side by side with the All-India States Peoples Conference for the independence of a united India. The Congress presumed that the people in the States, including the Muslim-ruled States and the majority of the people in the Jammu and Kashmir State, would vote to join India. The inclusion of the Jammu and Kashmir State in the Indian Dominion, the Congress leaders anticipated, would lessen the rigours of the communal divide, the partition had caused and go a long way to consolidate the secular political organisations, India had opted for. 

The British did not conccde to the people of the States the right to determine their future, and instead restored the powers of the Paramountcy to the Princes, vesting them with the power to determine the future disposition of their States. The British Government, however, made it clear to them that they would not be admitted to the British Commonwealth as British Dominions. The Viceroy, however, assured them that the British Government would consider any offer of bilateral relations the States made, perhaps leaving open the options for any State to seek British protection to remain out of India. By the time the British quit India, all the Indian States except Junagarh, Hyderabad and Jammu and Kashmir, acceded to India. The few Muslim States within Pakistan and the Hindu majority State of Junagarh acceded to Pakistan. The accession of Junagarh was shortlived, the people in the State revolted and the Nawab fled to Pakistan uith fabulous treasures and his vast seralgio. A referendum upturned the decision of the Nawab and Junagarh joined India. 

Right after the British withdrawal, Pakistan claimed the Jammu and Kashmir State on the basis of the Muslim majority character of its population and its contiguity to Pakistan, though the League leaders recognised the right of the Princes to determine the future affiliations of their States. In the initial phases after independence, Pakistan with an eye on the Muslim-ruled States of Hyderabad and Junagath, conveyed to the ruler of the Jammu and Kashmir State, Maharaja Hari Singh that the Government of Pakistan would support him if the State assumed independence. The All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference, which led the Muslim movement for Pakistan in the State, apparantly on the instructions of the Muslim League, openly declared its support for an independent Jammu and Kashmir State. However, immediately afler the Maharaja concluded a stand-still agreement whh Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan changed its tone and claimed the State for Pakistan. 

Maharaja Hari Singh offered a standstill agreement to the Government of India as well, but the Government of India refused to countenance any proposals of a standstill agreement, so long the State Government would not send its accredited representatives to the Indian capital to negotiate the terms of the agreement. Hari Singh probably, weighed down by the changes the British withdrawal had brought about in India and unsure of the consequences of his accession to India waited, perhaps to seek political balances, which could retain him a measure of the prerogative he had enjoyed under the Paramountcy. 

As time went by, Pakistan prepared feverishly to reduce the State and the Maharaja was not unaware of what was happening around. Pakistan fomented a rebellion in the Muslim majority districts of the Jammu province against the State government, in which thousands of Hindus and Sikhs were killed and upturned from their homes. Neither Hari Singh nor the Indian leaders, who claimed their commitment to secularism and on that basis claimed the accession of the Muslim majority State of Jammu and Kashmir to India, paid any heed to the depredations, Pakistan spread in the State. Perhaps, the Indian leaders were still frightened of the British and, therefore, balanced their interests in Hyderabad, where the Nawab clandestinely sought to seek help from Pakistan to remain out of India. The Indian leaders lacked the courage to face the Nawab and the leaders of Pakistan while the British benefactors had not gone very far. 

Towards the beginning of September, Pakistan army and nationals began to nibble at the borders of the State. By the end of September, they had infilterated into the sensitive border areas of the State to soften its defences. During the night of 21 October 1947, thousands of Pakistani army personnel, disguised as local Muslim and Afiridi tribesmen invaded the State. As the invading armies spread into the State, Hari Singh acceded to India. On 27 October, air-borne Indian troops arrived in Srinagar in the morning. Hari Singh transferred the state power to the National Conference two days after. 

Though the British had withdrawn from India they still cast their shadow on the Indian freedom. Inspite of the accession of the State to India and the military operations India launched against the invading armies, Pakistan truimphed. The intervention of the United Nations, which India had invoked against the aggression of Pakistan, ultimately led to a ceasefire in hostilities leaving a large part of the State, including the districts of Mirpur and part of Poonch along with the Poonch Jagir in the Jammu province, and the district of Muzzafarabad and a part of the district of Baramulla in the Kashmir province, the entire district of Baltistan, the district of Gilgit and the Gilgit Agency, with all the Dardic dependencies, under the occupation of Pakistan. 

Had the Government of India resisted the pressure to allow Pakistan to occupy a part of the territories of the State, Pakistan would have been denied the base, inside the State, which it effectively used to deepen the uncertainity, the cease-fire had created, and destabilize the Indian positions in the State. 

The occupation of a large part of the State provided Pakistan logistic advantage and in linking up its political interests in the State with the strategic interests of its Western allies to neutralise Soviet influence all along, from Afghanistan to the western most fringes of China in Sinkiang. Ayangar, who represented India in the United Nations had little experience of diplomacy and lacked the diplomatic background, to deal firmly with the Security Council. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who was specially deputed by Jawaharlal Nehru to argue for India took pains to convince the Security Council of the sincerety with which India had come to the rescue of the Muslims in the State, to save them from the Muslims of Pakistan. Quoting scriptures, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, made strenuous efforts, to prove that he and the Muslims in the State were more Islamic than the Muslims of Pakistan and it was precisely for that the Indian Dominion had gone to the help of the Muslims of the State. 

As Pakistan consolidated its hold on the occupied territories, it went back on its commitments on demiliteraisation, refused to withdraw its troops from the occupied territories and claimed a parity in the deployments of the troops with the strength of the Indian army, which it had agreed would remain in the State for its defence. Pakistan insisted upon the retention of thirty thousand Muslim militia, which it claimed, had been raised in the occupied territories. The militia was actually a part of the regular force, which Pakistan had orgainsed from the Muslim deserters of the Dogra army, Muslim ex-servicemen of Mirpur, Poonch, and Sudhunti, who were demoblised from the British imperial troops after the end of the Second World War and recruits from the adjoining districts of Pakistan, who had brought up the rear of the invasion into the State and tasted blood and booty in their adventure. 

While Pakistan launched a propaganda campaign charging India of having usurped the freedom of the Muslims in Kashmir and demanded a plebiscite to determine the future of the State, it entrenched itself in the occupied territories. A local government called 'Azad Kashmir Government' was established in the occupied territories, ostensibly to conduct their administration. The invading army had already wiped out the Hindus and the Sikhs from the occupied territories, around thirty thousand of them had been exterminated in the invasion and more than a hundred thousand, who had survived, had been thrown back into Srinagar and Jammu. Incidently, it will be of interest to note that these displaced persons are still awaiting rehabilitation in the State, though Muslim refugees from wherever they have come into Kashmir, Sinkiang, Tibet or even Azad Kashmir, have been settled in Kashmir with hereditary State Subject rights. 

In a short time, Pakistan converted the occupied territories into a citadel of Muslim crusade against India, dedicated to the liberation of the State from the Indian dominance and the unification of the Muslims in the State with their brethren in Azad Kashmir, within the Muslim homeland of Pakistan. Pakistan adopted a three-pronged strategy to destroy the Indian support-base in the State: 

  • to reorganise the cadres of the Muslim Conference, who had supported the League demand for Pakistan and who had provided tactical support to the invading armies, and who were still active all over the State and the Muslim middle class factions, along with the sections of Muslim burareaucracy which had opposed the accession of the State to India, into a widespread and powerful movement for the disengagement of the State from India; 
  • to establish a widespread network of its intelligence agencies in the State to coordinate the activities of the anti-India Muslim elements and organisations in the State, organise infiltration of pro-Pakistan cadres into the political organisations which supported accession of the State to India and sabotaged these organisations from inside, provide finances and other material help to induct their agents into the State Government to capture its decisional units; 
  • to launch a propaganda campaign addressed to the Muslims in the State to organise them against India on the ground that 
    • Muslims in Pakistan and the Jammu and Kashmir were one nation imbibed by Islam and since the Muslims in the State were a majority, the State rightfully formed a part of the Muslim homeland of Pakistan; 
    • Pakistan was a Muslim State based upon the law and precept of Islam which accepted the preeminence of the Muslims in its social, economic and political organisation; 
    • India was a Hindu nation and the Muslim majority in Kashmir would be subjugated to the dominance of Hindus; 
    • commitment to secularism was unIslamic because Muslims could not accept equality between the Muslims and the people who did not profess Islam; 
    • the National Conference which supported the accession of the State to India, aimed to divide the Muslims and weaken them; 
    • The Hindus in the State, particularly the Kashmiri Pandits, were ceaselessly working to perpetuate the consolidation of the Indian forces in the State in order to perpetuate Hindu rule over the Muslims and it was, therefore, necessary to isolate them socially as well as exclude them from the economic organisation of the State and the processes of its government and politics. 
Inside the State, the cadres ofthe Muslim Confernce, who had been considerably subdued after the accession of the State to India, the volunteers of the Muslim Guard, who had been organised in both the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir during the fateful days which followed the transfer of power in India in 1947, the cadres ofthe smaller Muslim organisations which supported the accession of the State to Pakistan, the Muslim intellectuals and middle class factions, including the sections of bureaucracy which opposed the accession of the State to India and a section of the Muslim leaders and cadres of the National Conference, which disapproved of the accession of the State to India, organised themselves into a closely-knit and widespread movement for the disengagement of the State from India and its merger with Pakistan. With active political support and enormous funds received from Pakistan, the Muslim movement against India, widened its reach rapidly. The claim to a separate Muslim nation which was not subject to the dominance of the Hindu majority in India, and which was committed to the ideas of the Muslim brotherhood and Islamic law, had a far reaching effect on the Muslims in the State. The Muslims could achieve ascendance in a State which was Muslim in majority and outlook. The secular organisation of India, which underlined the equality of all people irrespective of their religion could not be reconciled to a Muslim state, which in principle accepted the pre-eminence of the Muslims in all social, economic and political forms. In the Muslim homeland, Muslim precept would prevail over all other religions and social forms which would be subject to Islamic law and injunction. Since the United Nations had opened fresh options for the Muslims in the State to exercise in respect of its final disposition, the Muslims could repudiate accession to India and join the Muslim nation of Pakistan. 

The response of the National Conference leadership to these events was pathetically sterile. In due course of time, while the Conference leaders consolidated their hold on the state power, they adopted almost the same ideological prepositions which formed the basis of the secessionist movements inthe State. The Conference leaders sought to create a Muslim State within India, placed outside the Indian constitutional organisation. A Muslim State, the Conference leaders believed, would ensure the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir, a political organisation which was based upon the Muslim majority character of their population in the State and their pre-eminence in the society, economic organisation and the government of the State. The Conference leaders conveyed to the Govermnent of India, in unmistakable terms, that: 

  • Muslims of Kashmir required to be ensured a separate and independent political organisation to protect them from the dominance of the Hindu majority in India; 
  • the political organisation of the State could not accept secularism as its basis, because secularism was not reconcilable to Muslim precedence; 
  • the State of Jammu and Kashmir could only be organised on the basis of the Muslim religious precept which accepted the pre-eminence of the Muslims; 
The Conference leaders conveyed to the Government of India that the Muslims in the State would support accession to India, only if they were guaranteed a separate state, in which they were not subject to the dominance of the Hindu majority in India and which recognised their religious precedence, throwing its own ideological commitments to sccularism to the winds. Thc Government of India agreed. Secularism was restricted to Hindu India: the Muslim majority State of Jammu and Kashmir could not be integrated in a secular India, because Muslim precedence could not be reconciled with the right to equality, which formed the basic postulate of the Indian constitutional organisation. The Separate political organisation of the State was embodied in Article 370 of the Constitution of India. 

The Muslim League had also fought for the separate Muslim homeland of Pakistan to save the Muslim nation in India from the dominace of the Hindu majority and the establishment of a Muslim political organisation which was based upon the religious precedence of the Muslims. Why had the National Conference; which also was commined to similar ideclogical postulates, opposed the Muslim League demand for Pakistan? The contradictions in the outlook of the Conference, broke it up quicker than expected. The high propaganda of religious indoctrination poured into the State from across the cease-fire line and widespread pro-Pakistan underground in the State accelerated the process. The final denouement came in August, 1953, when the Interim Government headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was dismissed. 
 

White Paper on Kashmir

 

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