Kashmir Case: A Story of Letters and Telegrams

Jul 27th, 2016 | Category: Articles

Kashmir Case: A Story of Letters and Telegrams

By Sohail Parwaz

The miseries and sacrifices of Kashmiris have different angles. It has been covered by the writers, researchers and the historians in different ways. Thousands of books and papers have been written about the gruesome tales. Amongst them few have taken pain to cover and documented them chronologically. Of them one is the Discovery Publishing House, New Delhi who published a 15 volume book in 1991, under the title ‘Documents on Kashmir Problem’. It’s a culling and compilation of original historic documents i.e. letters, telegrams, treaties and resolutions etc. Although it’s very difficult to extract the letters and telegrams from all the 15 volumes since it’s difficult if not impossible, however, while taking its first volume, the dates and chronology of some documents revealed the intentions and aim of the then Indian government. It clearly exposes the Maharaja Hari Singh’s and the Indian government’s nefarious nexus. It shows that the stage was set for the Indian forces landing in the valley. The plan was made immediately after the passing of the resolution by the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference about accession of the State with Pakistan, while the correspondence with the Pakistan government and the authorities was merely a cover up or eye wash. Some of the vital documents are being appended below without any or in some cases with brief comments just to explain in case of need.

Astoundingly in August 1947, an exchange of telegrams between the Kashmir government and the Pakistani authorities exhibited that both were engrossed and agreeing upon an idea of Standstill Agreement on all issues and that is confirmed through a telegram dated August 12, 1947, from Prime Minister, Kashmir State, to Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, States Relations Department, Karachi, where the Prime Minster clearly agrees that:

“Jammu & Kashmir government would welcome Standstill Agreements with Pakistan on all matters [….]”. The same was warmly reciprocated through a telegram of August 15, 1947, from Foreign Secretary, Government of Pakistan, Karachi, to the Prime Minister Jammu & Kashmir at Srinagar, “Your telegram of the 12th. The Government of Pakistan agrees to have a Standstill Agreement with the Government of Jammu &Kashmir[….]”

Interestingly, when a telegram exchange on the same subject, between the Kashmir Government and the Government of India took place, the reply from India was:

“The Government of India would be glad if you or some other minister duly authorized on this behalf could fly to Delhi for negotiating Standstill Agreement between Kashmir Government and Indian Dominion. Early action is desirable to maintain intact existing agreements and administrative arrangements.”

The point is that if the Pakistan Government could trust the Kashmir Government’s intentions merely on the basis of a telegram exchanged then what compelled the Indians to ask for an instantaneous one-on-one meeting?

In fact something had already started cooking up in the ‘Kashmir Kitchen’, under the supervision of the ‘Indian Chefs’ and it was soon after the passing of the resolution regarding accession to Pakistan, by the Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference. Surprisingly, merely within 100 days, the Indian forces had their boots in the Valley. Obviously it was not possible in such a short time unless preliminaries had already not been tied up.

Although through a telegram of 12 August 1947, the Prime Minister of Kashmir assured Pakistan about strictly adhering to a Standstill Agreement, nevertheless, the events on ground were negating any such assurance. The Pakistan’s government machinery smelled fishy maneuvers, hence decided to contact the Kashmir government. A text (given below) was immediately telegraphed to the Prime Minister Kashmir. The telegram dated October 12, 1947, from Foreign Secretary to the government of Pakistan to the Prime Minister of Kashmir said:

“Men of Pakistan Army who have recently returned from leave at their homes in Poonch have report that armed bands, which includes troops are attacking Muslim villages in the State [….] one feature of the present situation in Poonch which, however, makes it peculiarly dangerous to the friendly relations which the Pakistan Government wishes to retain with Kashmir, is that the Pakistan Army obtains a large number of recruits from Poonch. Feeling in the battalions to which these men belong is rapidly rising and the situation is fraught with danger. The Pakistan Government wishes to avoid such a situation as they are sure do the Government of Kashmir, but if it is to be avoided, immediate and effective steps must be taken to end the present state of affairs, and in particular, if it is true that state troops are taking part in the attack on Muslims, to ensure the restoration of their discipline. The Government of Pak would like to be informed of the action taken”.

The telegram clearly spelled Pakistan’s concern and worries which were certainly valid; however, instead of satisfying the Pakistani Government, the Prime Minister of Kashmir leveled counter charges and attempted to justify the killings done by the Dogra forces through his reply. Unexpectedly, the Kashmir prime minister couldn’t hide his despicable aim in his reply. Reply of the Prime Minister of the Kashmir dated 15 Oct 1947 to the Government of Pakistan:

“This Government has ample proof of infiltration. As is the result in every Govt, including Pakistan Dominion, Military has to take action when disturbances caused cannot adequately be dealt with by Civil Administration. [….] If unfortunately this request is not heeded Government, much against its wishes, will have no option but to ask for assistance to withstand aggressive and unfriendly actions of the Pakistan people along our border”.

One wonders if anyone had ever gone into these minute details to extract the actual wicked intentions of the Maharaja and his collaborator, the Indian Government! After sending the telegram of 15 July, 1947 the Kashmir government appeared to be in a haste and couldn’t hide her excitement, hence, sent yet another telegram just after 3 days, to a person nothing less than the distinguished Governor General of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Telegram dated October 18, 1947 from the Prime Minister of the Kashmir to the Governor General of Pakistan:

“[….] Finally the Govt wish to make it plain that it is not possible to tolerate this attitude longer without grave consequences to the life, property of people which it is sacredly bound to defend at all costs. The Govt even now hopes 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 hope that you would agree that it would be justified in asking for friendly assistance and oppose trespass on its fundamental rights. (Copy telegraphed to Pakistani Prime Minister also)”.

The sender probably forgot that the person he addressed was an exemplary statesman and a politician of unmatched ethical standards. Even the British Lords and Viceroys would think hundred times before conversing with him. Consequently, the prime minister of Kashmir got the dose. It was a historical reply and no one could say that it was written by the head of the state of a country that got freedom hardly few weeks back. Telegram dated October 20, 1947 from the Governor General of Pakistan, to the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir

“I have received telegram of the 18th October from your Prime Minister regarding the situation in Kashmir which I regret was released to the press before it reached me and before I could deal with it. My Government has already been in communication with your Government and I deplore that your Prime Minister should have restored to the tone and language adopted in his telegram to me which embodies a threat to seek outside assistance and is almost in the nature of an ultimatum. This is hardly the way for any responsible and friendly Government to handle the situation that has arisen. [……] in the circumstances I am, reluctantly, forced to the conclusion that the unfounded allegations and accusations are only a smoke screen to cover the real aim of your Govt’s policy. A recent instance of this policy is the differential treatment accorded to the leaders of the Kashmir National Conference and the Muslim Conference. […..] the course which your Government is pursuing in suppressing the Mussalmans in every way, the atrocities which are being committed by your troops and which are driving Muslims out of the State, various indications given in the press, particularly the release to the Press of your Prime Minister’s telegram addressed to me containing unfounded allegations and the threat to enlist outside assistance, show clearly that the aim of your Government’s policy is to seek an opportunity to join the Indian Dominion. This policy is naturally creating deep resentment and grave apprehension among your subjects 85 percent of whom are Muslims. [….]

Any sensible person would consider it as a ‘Shut-up’ call, given in the diplomatic way.  However Maharaja was looking for this opportunity and as the Indian Government and the Raja had already premeditated, within a week the Maharaja scripted a letter to the most controversial Viceroy of the Subcontinent, Lord Mountbatten, who was now the Governor General of India. Text of letter dated 26 October 1947 from Sir Hari Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, to Lord Mountbatten, the Governor General of India:

My dear Lord Mountbatten,

I have to inform your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my state and request immediate assistance of your Government. [….] if my State has to be saved immediate assistance must be available at Srinagar. Mr. Menon is fully aware of the situation and he will explain to you, if further explanation is needed.

In haste and with kindest regards,

Yours sincerely

Hari Singh

The Palace Jammu                                                                                                 ,

26 October 1947

The whole stage was set for these few lines. It was enough of an excuse for invading a peaceful state against the wishes of the majority of the public. So, within next 24 hours Lord Mountbatten replied to Maharaja assuring him ‘assistance’. Text of Lord Mountbatten’s reply dated 27 Oct 1947 to the Kashmir Ruler signifying his Acceptance of the Instruments of Accession:

My dear Maharaja Sahib

Your Highness’ letter dated 26 October has been delivered to me by Mr. V.P. Menon. In the special circumstances mentioned by Your Highness my Government have decided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. [……]

Meanwhile, I respond to Your Highness’ appeal for military aid action has been taken today to send troops of the Indian Army to Kashmir to help your own forces to defend your territory and to protect the lives , property and honour of your people.[….]

With kind regards,

I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Mountbatten of Burma

New Delhi

October 27, 1947

That’s how the new tale about the miseries of the inopportune Kashmiris started. Ever since then, the number of the Indian troops is increasing in the Kashmir Valley and so is the severity of the atrocities committed by the brutal Indian Army. The irony is that on one hand the innocent Muslim Kashmiris of Jammu & Kashmir were suppressed and tortured while on the other hand the clever Indian Prime Minster Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru was assuring the world at every forum, about extending the plebiscite right to the Muslims of the Valley. That’s the most tragic episode of this unresolved issue. What Pandit Nehru assured to the outer world and what he executed and accomplished internally is a different story being kept pending for some other time.

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