New Delhi, Oct 22 (SocialNews.XYZ) As the world is agitated over the Israel-Hamas-Palestine issue, Kashmiris remember October 22, 1947, as the darkest day in the history of Jammu & Kashmir when Pakistan perpetrated its vile design and got thousands killed to gobble up the independent land, and changed the history in the region.
October 22 is observed as a Black Day in J&K.
When Britishers divided India and allowed the making of Pakistan in 1947, J&K declared itself an independent country. On August 12, 1947, the Maharaja sought a standstill agreement with both India and Pakistan. While India did not sign, Pakistan accepted the offer and on August 15, 1947 sent a communication to Janak Singh, the then Prime Minister of J&K, confirming the same.
But Pakistan had different designs. It wanted J&K by all means and planned and executed an invasion not by its army but by tribesmen. And the raid began early October 22, 1947. Thousands of tribesmen were supplied with arms and ammunition, and transported by the Pakistan Army. The army regulars also joined the raiders in civil clothes.
The invasion was code named ‘Operation Gulmarg’ under the command of Pakistan's Major General Akbar Khan and the mission was to seize the land.
The tribesmen first took over the bridges spanning Neelum river linking Muzaffarabad and Abbottabad and captured the first major town, Muzaffarabad. The invaders killed Hindus, Sikhs, looted and burnt their houses. A large number of women and girls were raped and kidnapped. The raiders then moved further towards Uri, Baramulla and reached there on October 26. The mayhem of killings, rapes and plunder was repeated at every stop along the route.
Besides Muzaffarabad, Baramulla was another major town that bore the brunt of the ruthless tribals. Hindus and Sikhs were massacred. Women were raped and kidnapped. The tribals did not even spare the hospital which was run by Christian missionaries. They killed everyone there, even the Muslim patients. The loot and plunder continued for three days. When the fall of Srinagar looked imminent, Maharaja Hari Singh sought India’s help and signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26.
It was then that Indian troops landed in Srinagar and a battle began to save Kashmir. By November 8, the Indian Army had taken control of Srinagar, on November 9 of Baramulla, and by November 13 Uri was secured. However, with the Pakistani Army formally entering the battle in support of the tribesmen, the war continued for over a year until a ceasefire was declared on the night of December 31, 1948.
Kashmir was saved but Pakistan took away its slices. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is a part of the original Kashmir, the borders of which touch Pakistan's Punjab, Northwest, Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan, and Xinjiang region of China.
A part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's Shaksgam Valley was illegally handed over to China by Pakistan in 1963 when both countries signed a boundary agreement to settle their border differences.
The frontiers of the princely state of J&K comprised a total area of 2,22,236 sq kms. Upon the signing of the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947, the territory belonged to India.
Of the territory, 78,114 sq kms are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan while 38,000 sq kms is under the illegal occupation of China; and further, 5,180 sq kms in the Shaksgam Valley, illegally ceded by Pakistan to China under their border agreement of March 2, 1963.
After the failed Operation Gulmarg of 1947, Pakistan attacked India in 1965, 1971 and even in 1999, every time biting the dust. Convinced that it cannot win a war with India, Pakistan had launched cross-border terrorism since 1988 in Kashmir by playing the religion card. In the name of Jihad, terror was unleashed in the valley. Thousands have perished and minorities uprooted.
For all these decades Pakistan has been peddling false narratives about Kashmir, including its culpability in the 1947 tribal invasion.
October 22, 1947 is no less than a day of holocaust for the people of J&K, including those under Pakistan and Chinese siege.
The horrors that the world is witnessing in Israel-Gaza have been long endured by the people of Kashmir at the hands of Pakistan.
Along with unleashing terror in Kashmir, Pakistan has completely subjugated the part of PoK which is under its illegal occupation. People there are agitating for basic needs and demanding ‘azadi’ from Pakistan’s tyranny.
Had Pakistan been sincere, it would have developed its part of occupied Kashmir, but then it was never interested. All it wanted was the land and not its people. If Pakistan had not betrayed Kashmiris in 1947, history would have been different in South Asia.
This illegal occupation by Pakistan and China of Indian territory of J&K has hardly been given much importance by the powers which are today raising the Israel-Palestine issue.
History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme, said Mark Twain. What is being witnessed in the Middle East is something like what Pakistan has been repeatedly perpetrating in Kashmir.
(Deepika Bhan can be contacted at email@example.com)