|VOL. 1 NO. 18 DELHI: Thursday, Kartik Krishna 1, October 30, 1947 Four Annas|
In view of grave emergency the Maharaja of Kashmir has acceded to the Indian Dominion. In a letter to Lord Mountbatten he declares that “the other alternative is to leave my State and my people to freebooters.” He adds: “This alternative I will never allow to happen so long as I am the Ruler of the State and I have life to defend my country.”
The following is the accession letter written by the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir to the Governor-General of India has been published:
My dear Lord Mountbatten,
I have to inform your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request the immediate assistance of your Government.
As your Excellency is aware, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has not acceded either to the Dominion of India or to Pakistan. Geographically my State is contiguous to both Dominions. It has vital economic and cultural links with both of them. Besides, my State has a common boundary with the Soviet Republic and China. In their external relations the Dominions of India and Pakistan cannot ignore this fact.
I wanted to take time to decide to which Dominion I should accede or whether it is not in the best interests of both Dominions and of my State to stand independent – of course, with friendly and cordial relations with both.
I accordingly approached the Dominions of India and Pakistan to enter into a standstill agreement with my State. The Pakistan Government accepted this arrangement. The Dominion of India desired further discussion with the representatives of my Government. I could not arrange this in view of the developments indicated below. In fact, the Pakistan Government under the standstill agreement are operating the posts and telegraphs system inside the State. Though we have got a standstill agreement with the Pakistan Government, that Government permitted steady and increasing strangulation of supplies like food, salt and petrol to my state.
Afridis, soldiers in plain clothes, and desperadoes with modern weapons have been allowed to infiltrate into the State-first in the Poonch area, then in Sialkot and finally in mass in the area adjoining Hazara district on the Ramkote side. The result has been that the limited number of troops at the disposal of the State had to be dispersed and thus had to face the enemy at several points simultaneously, so that it has become difficult to stop the wanton destruction of life and property and looting.
The Mahora Power House which supplies electric current to the whole of Srinagar has been burnt. The number of women who have been kidnapped and raped makes my heart bleed. The wild forces thus let loose on the State are marching on with the aim of capturing Srinagar, the summer capital of my Government, as a first step to overrunning the whole State.
The mass infiltration of tribesmen drawn from distant areas of the North-West Frontier Province, coming regularly in motor trucks using the Mansehra-Muzaffarabad road and fully armed with up-to-date weapons, cannot possibly be done without the knowledge of the NWFP Government and the Government of Pakistan. In spite of repeated appeals made by my Government, no attempt has been made to check these raiders or stop them from coming to my State. In fact, both Pakistan Radio and Press have reported these occurrences. Pakistan Radio even put out a story that a Provisional Government has been set up in Kashmir. The people of my State, both Muslim and non-Muslims, generally have taken no part at all.
With conditions obtaining at present in my State and the great emergency of the situations as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion. Naturally, they cannot send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to the Dominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so and I attach the Instrument of Accession for acceptance by your Government.
The other alternative is to leave my State and my people to free-booters. On this basis no civilized Government can exist or be maintained. This alternative I will never allow to happen so long as I am the Ruler of the State and I have life to defend my country. I may also inform your Excellency’s Government that it is my intention at once to set up an Interim Government and ask Sheikh Abdulla to carry the responsibilities in this emergency with my Prime Minister.
If my State has to be saved, immediate assistance must be available at Srinagar Mr Menon is fully aware of the gravity of the situation and he will explain to you, if further explanation is needed.
In haste and with kindest regards,