|VOL. 1, NO. 23 DELHI: Thursday, Paush Krishna 12, 2004, January 8, 1948 Four Annas
In a statement on the situation in Kashmir, Prof. Balraj Madhok, MA, Secretary, Praja Parishad, Jammu, says: The problem of Kashmir State is becoming more complicated day by day. No doubt the Indian Government has reffirmed its determination to clear the Jammu and Kashmir State of the raiders at any cost. Sheikh Abdulla has also declared that the destiny of Kashmir lay with India. But still the future of the State, so far as its relation with the Indian Union is concerned, will remain uncertain until and unless Jammu province is saved from the military and political destruction that is now going on there.
A glance at the map of the State will show that its eastern portion which is contiguous to India is formed by the Buddhist Ladakh with an area of about 30,000 square miles and Jammu province which is predominantly Hindu excepting Kotli and Mirpur tehsils of the Mirpur district. The western portion of the State consists of Mirpur, Poonch and Muzaffarabad districts which are now in the hands of the raiders. The valley of Kashmir lies in the centre.
Thus it is clear that the only hopeful and dependable factor in the situation of Kashmir is the Hindu majority province of Jammu. It forms the only link between Kashmir and India. Its people have more than mere economic attachment with India. It forms the basin of river Chenab, is very rich in timber and minerals and is the homeland of brave Dogra soldiers.
This region along with the Buddhist Ladakh which has unequivocally decleared its desire to be linked with Jammu province for administrative purposes has a total area of over 40,000 square miles and a population of over 13 lakhs. Therefore in the interest of Kashmir as also of india as a whole the greatest pain should be taken to save this region.
Harassed From Within
Besides this pressure from the ‘Pakistani’ Raiders this region is being harassed by the local Muslim Leaguers also from within. The Muslim refugees from Chamba State with the active support of the local Muslims and connivance of some League-minded National Militia men from Kashmir have caused havoc in the beautiful Hindu ilaqa of Bhadarwah which is known as “Chhota Kashmir”. Their plan seems to be to wipe out the Hindu population and settle Chamba Muslims there.
Politically the situation is even worse. As is well known the National Conference was almost non-existent in Jammu province till the transfer of power to Sheikh Abdulla. To create popular enthusiasm in Jammu province to meet the invaders the co-operation of the popular leaders of the province should have been secured. But unfortunately it has not been done so far. On the other had, some fanatic and notorious Leaguers have somehow managed to come in the confidence of the Emergency Administration.
Demoralisation Among People
This naturally caused panic and demoralization in the people Moreover the League-minded elements who have crept in the National Conference after 26th October, have been systematically working for the removal of Hindu officers from key posts. Consequently some of the high ranking Hindu officers have been replaced by well-known pro-League Muslims such as Colonel Adalat Khan and Mr. Shahmiri.
The result of all this has been a sort of stalemate in Jammu province whose full resources should have been mobilized to fight the enemy at this critical juncture. If this situation is allowed to continue it may have serious repercussions on the future of Jammu province and therefore of the State and the country as a whole.
The Only Solution
The only solution of this difficult situation is that the Dogra people of Jammu should be made to feel that they are masters of their own destiny in their own home, so that the defeatism they have recently developed due to aforesaid political and military blows may be removed.
This can best be done by making Jammu province along with Ladakh an autonomous administrative unit within the State. This will be the most democratic and wise step, because the people of Jammu province and Ladakh are determined to remain a part of India under all circumstances. This being done the people of Jammu through the Praja Parishad will develop the necessary determination to drive out the raiders and liberate every inch of their homeland. This will also help them in giving the fullest support and co-operation to Sheikh Abdulla’s Emergency Administration.
Praja Parishad (Secretary’s Suggestion)