|VOL. 1, NO. 28 DELHI: Thursday, Paush Krishna 12, 2004, January 8, 1948 Four Annas|
Very few people in India or outside realize the significance of Jammu’s geographical position in the strategy of the Kashmir campaign. Fewer still.
About 1,000 ft. above sea level, Jammu forms a beautiful first stepping rung on the Himalayan ladder which leads us to Srinagar. This winter headquarter of the Kashmir Administration has been a double key to the export-import economy of Kashmir State.
With the partition of India completed on August 15 last, Rawalpindi as the “winter key” of Kashmir’s economic life has been lost, thanks to the economic boycott the ‘Pakistan’ authorities launched, undeclared, against the State, notwithstanding the existence of the standstill agreement between the two Governments.
Obviously, therefore, the four million inhabitants of over 84,000 sq. miles of territory must look of Jammu as the focus where to necessities of life coming from India or elsewhere may come and get distributed into the vast interior. In a sense, this Karachi of Kashmir therefore is now the only “feeder” which along Kathua Road may maintain the flow of imports and export between Kashmir and India. At present the armoured cars which have timely stemmed the tide of raiding hordes along the Baramulla-Uri Road, and prevented the rape of Srinagar are there on account of the enemy failing to capture Jammu and thus strangle to death the life-line running along the Pathankot-Kathua bottleneck.
Raiders’ Eyes on Jammu
I am sure that although most of our countrymen in the Indian Union do not seem to realize this growing importance of and threat to Jammu’s position, the “brains” behind the raiders do not certainly share this indifferent ignorance with us. That is why, it seems, while checked and beaten on the Uri-Baramulla Road in the north, the main tempo of invaders’ campaign has been switched on the southern front, with a uniformly heavy pressure all along a 100-mile-long front. The focus of this offensive is apparently the lively town of Jammu, otherwise little known to outsiders as the northern terminus of the once North Western Railway, about 25 miles from Sialkot.
Diabolical Diplomacy at Work
While the raiders-and amongst them are many Punjabi Muslims-are receiving training at Jhelum, Sialkot and Gujarat, and while increased pressure is being applied by them all along the front, an inexplicable anxiety is being displayed by the ‘Pakistan’ authorities to see “the trouble” over in the State. Essentially by way of diversion, the “Pak” Dominion has seldom been second to set the stage for conferences on the Kashmir issue.
About two months are now over since the goondas across the Punjab-Kashmir border started their early guerrilla incursions into the state villages. With Kashmir troops vigilant on various positions of vantage, these incursions remained generally of a ‘hit and run’ variety. Incidentally this loot, arson and abduction formed a curiously delicious foretaste to the people of Kashmir to choose between ‘Pakistan’ and the Union of India. However, not before the fall of Baramulla did these raids in the south attain more than a “nuisance value.”
The campaign of Jammu was accelerated in all seriousness by the raiders since their failure to be in Srinagar on the night of October 25 last and “take rest as they choose to call it, in the Gulab Bhawan-Kashmir Maharaja’s lovely palace facing the Dal Lake. In case of capture of Srinagar itself the capture of Jammu would have been a secondary question but with India’s timely and unforgettable assistance, when the raiders had to turn their back upon Srinagar, never caring to halt before Uri, they came to wreak vengeance on the inhabitants of Devbatala, Bhimber, Kotli and numerous other villages of Akhnur. Failing to take Kashmir by the back door, the enemy now seeks to enter her by the front gate of Jammu.”
Thus Jammu Muslims have been essentially Leagueminded while the Kashmiri has had an unshakeable faith in nationalist approach to politics. This explains why Kashmiri Muslims have co-operated with the Indian troops, formed a National Militia and prepared even their women for defence. This should also make it clear why on the other hand we fing Muslim officers and troops from Jammu playing the fifth-column for the raiders and in places like Poonch, Mirpur and Doda, the local Muslims rising, killing and looting their Hindu breather establishing here and there petty independent principalities.
Paradoxically enough, the Muslims are protecting Hindus in Kashmir but slaying them in those parts of Jammu Province where they happen to be in a majority.
– By Ram Rattan Wazir