Black Day and new realisation of people of Jammu and Kashmir - 22 October observed as a Black Day in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir State
Dr Shabir Choudhry 9 November 2013
It was almost an annual ritual for many people of Jammu and Kashmir to observe 27 October as a Black Day in various parts of the world and portray India as a villain in Kashmir, responsible for all ills. These people under close guidance and encouragement of the Pakistani secret agencies distorted facts and propagated as India attacked Kashmir on 27 October 1947; and Tribesmen and Pakistan were good guys protecting life and honour of the Kashmiri people.
Leaders of Kashmir National Party and some others did not agree with the above thinking and approach. They believed that role of both India and Pakistan had to be analysed in light of some hard historical facts, which had been systematically distorted by Pakistan and some Kashmiris.
Kashmir National Party leaders, after detailed research produced literature to prove that there was a fundamental difference in roles and presence of armies of India and Pakistan. After lapse of the British Paramountcy, the State of Jammu and Kashmir also gained its independence on 15 August 1947; and concluded a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan. The Ruler of Kashmir also wanted to have a Standstill agreement with India, but Government of India wanted to discuss more details of the Standstill Agreement before signing it.
On 22 October 1947, Pakistan in clear violation of the Standstill Agreement launched invasion of Kashmir, and for that purpose sent Pakistan army in civilian clothes and hordes of savage tribesmen to capture Srinagar. These tribesmen killed innocent people, raped women, burnt houses and looted everyone. After conquering and destroying and looting towns of Muzaffarabad and Uri, and burning the villages on the way they reached Baramulla and destroyed the city.
Instead of continuing their advance to the Capital of Jammu and Kashmir and most priced city Srinagar, which was at their mercy, the tribesmen spent a few days in celebrating their victory, looting, raping and kidnaping women. In the meantime, the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, in order to save his Kingdom and his people contacted government of India for help.
Difference in role of Indian and Pakistani armies
India refused to send its army until the Maharajah Hari Singh acceded to India. All the evidence proves beyond any doubt that the Maharaja Hari Singh wanted to maintain his independence, but when he realised that his subjects were butchered by savage tribesmen, their property looted and women raped and kidnapped; and that he could lose his Kingdom as well, he reluctantly agreed to provisionally accede to India.
Points to remember are that:
1. Pakistani army and the tribesmen entered the State territory uninvited and against the wishes of the Ruler; and the Indian army entered Kashmir on the request of the Ruler.
2. Pakistani army and the tribesmen entered Kashmir by violating a legally valid treaty - the Standstill Agreement; Indian army entered Kashmir as a result of a treaty- provisional accession.
3. Tribal invaders entered Kashmir for the purpose of looting, killing and kidnapping, with additional objective of capturing Srinagar, however, evidence shows this was not their first priority, whereas it must have been the first priority of those who arranged the tribal attack. The Indian, army on the other hand, entered Kashmir to:
1/ Combat the invaders,
2/ Drive them out of the State territory,
3/ Save life, property and liberty of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
It must be pointed out that role of the Indian army changed afterwards; and they are and they have committed acts they were not legally allowed and originally sanctioned. However, this is a separate story, as this role changed many years after India claimed Kashmir to be an 'integral part' of India.
Pakistan had no locus standi
Another important point is that after violation of the Standstill Agreement and attacking sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani role in Jammu and Kashmir was assumed as that of an aggressor; and it was because of this fact that the Security Council allowed India to maintain ‘bulk’ of troops; and asked Pakistan to ‘secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistan nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting’.
Furthermore, after the provisional accession with India and after violation of the Standstill Agreement Pakistan had no locus standi in the matter of Jammu and Kashmir, as the issue was between India and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The people of Jammu and Kashmir had three options:
1. To reject the provisional accession;
2. To affirm the provisional accession;
3. Or renegotiate new terms of this provisional accession.
Pakistan only became a party to the Kashmir dispute because of the de-facto occupation of the Kashmiri territory. If the Indian army had ‘pushed out the raiders’ from the State territory before the dispute was taken to the UN Security Council, then Pakistan would not have been a party to the Kashmir dispute. The government of Pakistan knew this fact, and it was because of this vulnerability that they refused to withdraw their troops as demanded by the Security Council.
New realisation among people of Jammu and Kashmir
With passage of time and with hard work of organisations like Kashmir National Party and UKPNP, people of Jammu and Kashmir learnt that they were fooled by the Pakistani establishment to advance Pakistani national interests; and perpetuated suffering and miseries of the people by promoting illogical and anti - peace and anti - people policies. They realised that Pakistan was not sincere with the cause of Kashmir because of imperialist designs and strategic and economic interests. They were interested in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir; and welfare or independence of the people was not their priority. Had welfare of the people been close to their heart then they would have adopted different policies and, at least, would have granted fundamental rights to the people living in so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
Thinking people of Jammu and Kashmir came to know that it was not India that attacked Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian army came to Kashmir on the request of the Maharaja of Kashmir to save him and the people from the attackers. People learnt that their motherland and their sovereignty were attacked by Pakistan in clear violation of the Standstill Agreement; and that this naked aggression subsequently resulted in forced division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
So root cause was the attack on 22 October 1947, and all else that followed was by - product of this unprovoked attack. In view of this stark reality, it was imperative that thinking people observed 22 October as the Black Day in history of Jammu and Kashmir. In Britain, Kashmir National Party arranged a two hours live TV debate in which around 30 people participated which included many prominent Kashmiri nationalist leaders.
Also KNP observed Black Day in Muzaffarabad, Kotli and Bagh. Other nationalist parties also observed similar functions in various parts of so called Azad Kashmir, and sent a clear message that thinking people of Azad Kashmir could no longer be fooled in name of religion or Muslim brotherhood.
Black Day seminar in Srinagar
People of Azad Kashmir have been observing 22 October as a Black Day for some year, but what has surprised many Kashmir watchers are two events that have taken place in Jammu and Srinagar. Muslim population of the Indian occupied Kashmir are accustomed to routinely observing 27 October as a Black Day, a day when the Indian troops landed in Srinagar, even though they came there on the request of the government of Jammu and Kashmir. Hitherto, they have never observed 22 October as a Black Day.
However, this year on 22 October, Jammu and Kashmir Youth Development Forum (JKYDF), a political forum represented by people from different walks of life, organised a seminar at Zaberwan Park on the banks of famous Dal Lake in Srinagar to discuss the negative role of the Tribal Invasion on Kashmir in 1947. Press release issued by JKYDF stated:
‘Contrary to the past when separatists used to observe October 27, the day Indian Army landed in Srinagar, as Black Day, a group of young and energetic persons this year changed the trend by observing October 22 as Black Day. It was on October 22 when tribal militia backed by Pakistani Army invaded Kashmir in 1947.’
Farooq Ganderbali, Chairman JKYDF said: “Matter of the facts is that our sovereignty was violated on 22 October 1947 when hordes of tribesmen from North West Frontier of Pakistan attacked and invaded J&K State. They mercilessly killed and looted people. Religion was not an issue to them and their victims included Muslims as well as non-Muslims. In fact, first person who was killed by these so called Jihadis was a Muslim from Muzaffarabad area of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Our struggle is not against Pakistan or Pakistani people; it is against injustice and negative role of Pakistan and its agencies played from last 65 years in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a historic fact that the State of Jammu and Kashmir was independent after the end of the British Raj and that Tribal Invasion was supported by Pakistani authorities in clear violation of the Standstill Agreement concluded between the Maharaja Government and government of Pakistan.”
President J&K Socialist Democratic Party, Dr Drakshan Indrabi said: “If people of Pakistan can hold demonstrations against injustice in Pakistan and no one questions their loyalty and no one calls them traitor, then why should we be afraid of holding demonstrations against those who do injustice to us.” She further said, “Pakistan has divided people on different issues, they kill their own people and nobody is safe in Pakistan; and the democratic system of Pakistan has been occupied by its army”.
Advocate Bilal Ahmad, a social activist in his speech said: “The Tribal Invasion was planned and supported by government of Pakistan, and its aim was to punish the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir who refused to accede to Pakistan. It divided our beloved motherland and divided families of the State. It killed innocent Kashmiri men and women. It plundered and looted Kashmiri resources. It is the main cause of our present miseries and troubles. The genie of extremism and hatred released in name of jihad in October 1947 to advance political agenda, continue to spread extremism and hatred. Unfortunately that policy of promoting extremism to advance political agenda continued until very recently, and forces of extremism and hatred have become power in their own right. Tribal Kabalis didn’t even spare mosques in Kashmir and looted the valuables which people had kept their thinking they are safer places as no Muslim would dare to loot a masjid.”
Tufail Ahmad Bhat President Wattan Parast Party while appealing the people of Jammu and Kashmir to observe complete shut down and black out on October 22, said: ‘the bitterness and wretchedness of this day is such that no Kashmiri can afford to forget 22 October 1947’. He said, ‘Tribal invasion communalised the Kashmiri politics in which people of the State suffered immensely. In this unprovoked attack which forced the Maharaja to join India. Pakistan always tried to exploit Kashmiris in the name of religion’.
Engineer Ghulam Hassan Organizer JKYDF expressed his serious concern on the rise of religious intolerance in areas of Pakistani Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. “Lashkar-e-Taayyaba and other jihadi groups have entrenched their positions in POK and the puppet government of POK has instructed the local administration to accommodate the Pakistani and other jihadis by all means possible, including in madrasahs and state run schools.”
Bashir Ahmad Sofi, a law student of Kashmir University also addressed the seminar and said: “The Tribal Invasion communalised the Kashmiri politics in which people of the State suffered immensely and it was this unprovoked attack.”
The seminar also passed 11 resolutions which were sent to various human rights organisations, Embassies and OIC. The seminar, the resolutions and speeches prove that people of the Valley have, at last, understood that the root cause to their problems was and is, that unprovoked attack that was arranged by government of Pakistan and which resulted in the forced division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunately, Pakistani governments have not changed their policy of using violence as a weapon to advance their agenda and for this purpose send militants where ever they are required.
Black Day seminar in Jammu
Jammu Kashmir Unity Foundation also arranged a seminar in Jammu to observe 22 October as Black Day. According to the Press release issued by the JKUF, many prominent leaders and scholars participated and addressed the seminar which include the following: Balwant Singh Mankotia, Member Legislative Assembly and President JK National Panthers Party; Hukum Chand Sharma, Secretary General Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Committee, Sohail Kazmi, Secretary General Press Club of Jammu; Anwar Choudhary and prominent Gujar leader; Rajiev Chuni, President SOS – an organisation of POK Refugees; Ajaat Jamwal, Convenor, JKUF and Dr Ajay Chrungoo, Chairman Panun Kashmir.
Balwant Singh Mankotia said: ‘22 October is the day of invasion of Jammu and Kashmir. To call it tribal raid is a misnomer. Tribesmen were used by Pakistan Army as the frontal hordes to hide the nature of regular invasion on Jammu and Kashmir State. The day is the Blackest Day because this invasion broke up the State and rendered thousands and Lakhs of Hindus and Sikhs as refugees in their own state. Thousands were killed and abducted during the invasion. We have to remember all those who perished during the invasion. We have also to remember that Pakistan broke up the State and captured almost half of it. The people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir are denied all rights of freedom and during these years we have only seen a sham democracy on that side and also colonisation by the Pakistani citizens. This day reminds us of the challenges to the peace, harmony, unity and integrity of the State.’
Dr Ajay Chrungoo said: ‘On 22 October 1947, State of Pakistan declared its first war in Jammu and Kashmir. This was invasion and not a tribal raid. Pakistani army conducted this invasion only using tribesmen from North West Frontier Province to disguise it as a revolt of the people against the Maharaja. Tribesmen were mobilised to wage a jihad in Jammu and Kashmir and were given the specific task of religious cleansing. The Pakistan Occupied Kashmir was cleansed of its Hindu and Sikh population. Thousands of Hindus and Sikhs were killed and thousands of women were abducted and converted and sold off.’
Rajiv Chuni in his speech asserted: ‘Pakistan invasion changed not only the political but historical map of the country also. The area which Pakistan annexed from India in Jammu and Kashmir is being used as a safe haven for anti - India activities; and is being projected as Azad Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan and the activities launched by locals. Government of India has always shied away from talking on Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan on one hand while on the other hand it resolved in the Parliament being legal owner of the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The Government of India should talk to Pakistan and ask it to vacate the illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir state. Some historian have distorted the facts about Pakistan invasion on Jammu and Kashmir in 1947; and human rights of lakhs of people were violated by Pakistan aggression, thousands were killed, thousands abducted and sold in brothels in Pakistan. Rivers and wells were filled with dead bodies and refugees crossed rivers not on bridges of concrete or wood but bridges of bodies’.
Hukum Chand Sharma said: ‘Pakistan was also worried about the secular credentials of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as a whole and wanted to disrupt the secular harmony so that the Two Nations theory becomes successful’.
Some other speakers also addressed both seminars in Jammu and Srinagar, and highlighted similar issues. I have decided not to include summaries of their speeches because this article is already too long; and for the same reason I have not included any summaries of speeches of those who addressed Black Day conferences in so called Azad Kashmir.
One may ask, then why I have included summaries of the speeches from seminars in Jammu and Srinagar; and left out those who spoke in Azad Kashmir. Reason is simple, it was the first time that some thinking people arranged seminars of this kind on that side of the Line of Control, so this is something new; and many people on the Pakistani side of the divide do not know about these events.
These seminars prove one thing, no matter how strong is the propaganda of the occupiers; facts cannot be kept hidden for ever. It gives me immense pleasure that the process of holding a Black Day on 22 October by the Kashmir National Party has changed the thinking of the people; and has started a new movement which hopefully will help to change the course of history. In this regard, the seminars held in Jammu and Srinagar, and the new realisation among the thinking people will play a crucial role in years to come.
Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.