Sher-e-Kashmir and accession

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The government of India published a white paper on Jammu Kashmir in March 1948. It states that Indian Troops were airlifted to Kashmir on October 27, following the signing of the instrument of accession on the previous night. It further states that the accession was legally made by the Maharaja of Kashmir and this step was taken on the advice of the All J&K National Conference, the political party commanding the widest popular support in the State.

So it was Sher-e-Kashmir who advised Government of India to accept the instrument of accession.  However, a report released on April 20, 2011 at Anantnag says Sher-e-Kashmir favoured armed struggle for liberation of Jammu Kashmir in 1953. The report compiled by noted historian, Shabnam Qayoom is based on the leader’s speech of July 13, 1953 wherein he said `These martyrs have prepared us for bigger sacrifices to achieve our freedom and our right of self-determination.

If required, our youth would not desist from fighting a liberation war on the lines of Algerian people.’ Sher-e-Kashmir also said, “I regret my mistake of coming in the way of merger with Pakistan. I had fears that they won’t treat me well, but I was wrong. Now I feel back stabbed, I no longer trust Indian rulers, we have different ways now.”
Shabnam’s report stands corroborated by Constituent Assembly member, Abdul Gani Goni’s interview during the summer uprising of 2008 at his Barazulla residence.

 Goni said: “By 1948 Sheikh Sahib had realised his mistake of supporting state’s accession with India. He had started dreaming of an independent state and made no bones about it. During those fateful days, Moulana Azad visited Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah delivered a fiery speech at Hazratbal. Azad also wanted to address the people but Sheikh Abdullah sabotaged the move. A humiliated and angry Azad immediately left for New Delhi.

Nehru rushed to Srinagar to tame his friend (Sheikh Abdullah). In his presence a meeting of the National Conference working committee was held. The session continued for four days.  A defiant Sheikh told Nehru in clear terms that he and Kashmiris were not happy with state’s accession to India. He sought an independent state much to Nehru’s annoyance. However, Nehru being a matured politician controlled his anger and urged Sheikh Abdullah to stay patient for some time Nehru reacted politely.  `A park has been named after me in Srinagar. I was under the impression that people from India would come here to enjoy themselves. Anyways, if you want to remain independent, I have no objection. I am going to London for a conference. After I return I will talk to you.’ Nehru did return from London but not to give independence to Kashmir. He had planned to cage the roaring lion of Kashmir.” (Goni’s autobiography Sada-e-Bazgusht page 54.)

 Sher-e-Kashmir remained in prison for quite some time. According to Shabnam Qayoom, the Indian state succeeded in breaking his will and determination. He stopped dreaming of Azadi (independence). Instead, he suggested division of Jammu Kashmir as suggested by Sir Owen Dixon.  This stands proved by his letter to Col. Naseer of Egypt in 1965.
While giving a brief history of the conflict and its impact on global politics, Sher-e-Kashmir wrote “……no doubt the best and most democratic solution could be through a plebiscite should this not be feasible; there are other practicable solutions, suggested in the past. One such solution was made by Sir Owen Dixon, the UN Representative appointed to negotiate a settlement between India and Pakistan. Broadly speaking, Sir Owen Dixon proposed that:
(a) The southern parts of the state comprising Kathua, Jammu and parts of Udhampur districts (now being predominantly Hindu areas) may be annexed with India.

(b) The area, now known as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan being exclusively Muslim to be annexed with Pakistan.
(c) The Valley of Kashmir along with the adjoining areas across Banihal (i.e. the district of Doda and the Niabat of Arnas, Gulab Garh) to be allowed to decide its future through a plebiscite. Leh is to follow the result of plebiscite, held in this territory (Kargil being exclusively Muslim in population to go with the Valley).

Sher-e-Kashmir concluded his letter by seeking Naseer’s help.  “The above proposal can be a very good basis for discussion between India and Pakistan and Kashmir. It is hoped that friendly countries, interested in a settlement, will take up this proposal levels, as well as the international conference. Needless to say that as earnest effort in this direction will be the greatest service to the cause of peace in the world."

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