Functions, demonstrations in Pakistan and POK and protests in front of Indian missions have been par for the course. So much so, that in India, this Pak narrative has gone uncontested.
It was, therefore, with a great deal of satisfaction that I read about the functions in Srinagar and Jammu observing October 22 as a 'Black Day'. This was the day when tribal hordes with the connivance of the Pak state, devastated large parts of J and K and changed the course of sub-continental history.
Since we in India have a hazy sense of the past, it is necessary to explain the significance of the tribal invasion of October 22 which was a water-shed event with serious consequences that are continuing today.
The tribal invasion violated the Standstill Agreement between Pakistan and the Maharaja of J and K, resulted in the death of thousands of innocent people Hindus and Muslims alike, laid the seeds for disrupting the secular harmony of the state and led to the division of J and K that continues till today. It caused the first Indo-Pak war and subsequent wars that resulted in both governments spending billions of dollars on weapons, including nuclear ones, that could otherwise have been spent on development.
There is sufficient scholarship to establish that Pak rulers, stung by the Radcliffe award, encouraged a rebellion to advance their agenda of the two-nation theory in Kashmir.
Maj. Gen. Akbar Khan who was in charge of the operation produced a plan that the Kashmir rebellion should look like a revolt of the people of J and K against its non-Muslim rulers so that the civil unrest would provide the cover for military operations. As he himself wrote "as open interference and aggression by Pakistan was obviously undesirable, it was proposed that our efforts should be concentrated upon strengthening the Kashmiris themselves internally." In fact, Akbar Khan claimed that he met Sardar Ibrahim Khan, the future President of POK and others in August 1947 and encouraged them to take up arms against the Maharaja.
As a precursor, Pakistan violated the Standstill Agreement of August 15, 1947 and stopped supply of essential goods like petrol, oil, food, salt, sugar etc. to J and K, effectively blockading the state.
The plan of the tribal invaders was to capture Srinagar. However, for the tribesmen the primary purpose was plunder and not Jihad. Hence, they tarried in Baramulla and the rest is history.
Pakistan has perpetuated the myth that the tribal raiders were liberators and came to Kashmir to fulfil their religious obligation of jihad because Muslims were being killed in Jammu in communal riots.
It is an established fact that communal riots started in Jammu in late August 1947 when Hindus and Sikhs uprooted from Pakistani Punjab came to Jammu from Sialkot and Gujarat areas. Stories of atrocities committed by Muslims on them instigated the riots to target the Muslims in Jammu.
But nothing can be further from the truth that the tribal raiders came to protect their Muslim brethren. The raiders actually trampled J and K's sovereignty, dishonoured Kashmiri women and looted Hindus and Muslims alike. Eyewitness accounts like that of Khawaja Abdul Samad reveals "their attack had totally devastated Muzaffarabad, the homes of Hindus and Muslims were looted, shops were plundered, places of worships were not spared ; they tore down Mandirs and desecrated Masjids".
Baramulla fared no better. In Akbar Khan's own words Baramulla which used to be a bright and cheerful place now looked as if an earthquake had shaken it.
If the intention was to help the Muslims of Jammu, the million dollar question is why was the attack not carried out from Sialkot which is less than 30 miles from Jammu or from the side of Gujarat (Punjab) which provides easy access to Jammu province? Why were the tribes sent towards Muzaffarabad, Uri, Baramulla and Srinagar where Muslims were in a great majority and there were no communal disturbances? And why after two months?
Moreover, the government of Pakistan remained silent from late August till October on the issue of communal violence in Jammu. Neither Jinnah nor other Muslim Leaguers condemned the communal violence in Jammu or criticised the Maharaja for failing to control the violence.
The reason was that the Pak government expected the Maharaja to accede to Pakistan and they did not want to do anything to annoy him. In fact, Jinnah was so sure of the accession that he claimed that 'Kashmir is in my pocket' and refused to negotiate with Sheikh Abdullah. Later, when it was realised that the Maharaja was not going to accede to Pakistan, it was decided to unleash the tribesmen. The prize was Srinagar and cleansing the area of Hindus and Sikhs. Protecting the Muslims of Jammu was not on the agenda.
How valid is Pakistan's observance of a Black Day on October 27 to coincide with the arrival of the Indian army in J and K? The fact of the matter is that after the lapse of British paramountcy J and K emerged as an independent state in August 1947. It signed a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan and was to negotiate certain issues of it with India. Its sovereignty was violated and the Standstill Agreement shattered by Pakistan organising the tribal invasion on October 22. J and K's sovereignty was not violated on October 27 when Indian troops landed in Srinagar because by then the Maharaja had signed the 'Instrument of Accession' and J and K had become a part of India.
For India, it is important to realise the continuity in Pak policy since 1947. As in 1947, even today, policy makers in Islamabad continue to believe that they can get Kashmir by force. October 22, 1947 in fact, marks the beginning of Pakistan's asymmetric war with India that continues till date.
The planners and the perpetuators of the tribal invasion are the foremost enemies of the Kashmiri nation. Unfortunately, all the crimes committed by them have been camouflaged under the name of Jihad and Independence by successive Pakistan governments and their cronies in J and K.
Tragically, we in India and especially those in J and K who bore the brunt of the tribal invasion have chosen to forget the events of October 22, 1947.
Hats off, therefore, to the organisers of the Srinagar and Jammu events for observing October 22 as the real Black Day by recalling the nightmare of the tribal invasion that forever changed the status of J and K and the history of the sub-continent.
The views expressed in the above article are that of Mr. Salim Haq
--ANI (Posted on 27-10-2013)