A Page from History: Untold Losses of Hindus in Kashmir
|VOL. 1 NO. 20 DELHI: Thursday, Kartik Krishna 1, November 13, 1947 Four Annas|
Hundreds of villages that fell into the hands of the invaders were plundered, looted and burnt and Hindu men, women and children butchered in cold blood,” said Mr. Dina Nath Mahajan, Member of the Kashmir Legislative Assembly, in a statement o the situation in Kashmir.
Mr. Mahajan and Mr Mohan Lal Motilal had been to Delhi to acquaint the Union Government Ministers with the grave situation prevailing in the Jammu Province. They met Sardar Patel, Sardar Baldev Singh, Mr N Gopalaswami Iyengar, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee and Bakshi Tek Chand in this connection. They tried to have an interview with Pandit Nehru but “were unable to do so on account of his manifold engagements.”
“As a result of these raids,” Mr Mahajan added, “the Hindus of the State have suffered huge loss of life and property. About 100 villages in Jammu and Mirpur districts have been sacked.”
Mr Mahajan disclosed that the State Army, 10,000 strong, contained about 3000 Muslim soldiers. Most of them not only deserted their posts in the “hour of the great national crisis” but actually helped the enemy in looting and burning Hindu villages and killing innocent men and women in Muzaffarabad, Uri, Baramula, Bhimber, Poonch and Kotli areas.
“Some of the important towns in the Jammu Province,” he said, “are Mirpur, Udhampur, Kotil, Bhimber, Riasi, Kathua and Rajouri. Out of these Mirpur and Bhimber lie on the borders of the State and it was in these towns that a large number of the distressed Hindus from West Punjab sought refuge.”
“The Pakistan Government bent upon exterminating Hindus distributed arms and ammunition in West Punjab Muslim villages and to those living on the borders of the Jammu Province and actively connived at the armed raids of Hindu villages in the State territory.”
“In course of time these raids became more frequent and intense and about a hundred villages in Jammu & Mirpur districts were sacked. Simultaneously with these raids came the news of the treacherous and armed invasion of the beautiful valley of Kashmir from the Pakistan territory. Thousands of villages that lay on the way of the invaders were plundered, looted or burnt and innocent men, women and children were either massacred or burnt alive.”
“The advance of these raiders, overwhelming in number and equipped with the most modern weapons of warfare, was so rapid that the panic-stricken Hindus living in small villages began to flee for their lives to Mirpur and Bhimber Tehsils. But even these towns could give little protection to them.”
“The strain of the invasion of Poonch and Kashmir was so great that the authorities could spare only a handful of troops for Mirpur, Kotil, Bhimber and Rajouri.”
“The town of Bhimber was invaded by a large number of armed raiders from Gujarat. The population there appealed for help to the authorities of Jammu, but o effective help could be sent on account of insufficiency of troops, and petrol. As a result the town was sacked and Hindus were looted or butchered.”
“Communications were cut off. Some of the Hindus escaped to Veripattan, at the junction of the roads from Jammu, Mirpur and Nowshera, but, unfortunately, adequate arrangements for their safe escort to Jammu could not be made and they were left to their fate. No information about their whereabouts has been received.”
“Kotli, which is being gallantly defended by Col. Baldev Singh Pathania, Reveue Minister, is still in a critical position. The situation in Mirpur and Reasi where there are 20,000 and 10,000 Hidus respectively – is also very grave. These towns are besieged by armed bandits from the Pakistan territory and if immediate military aid is not sent there is every risk of the disaster of Bhimber being repeated.”