The story of partition. How India ‘conquered’ Junagarh, Hyderabad and Kashmir through military operations

Pestering wounds 

Shafkat Raina

In 1947, British India got divided into two domains namely India and Pakistan. According to the Indian Independence act of 1947, the Muslim majority states were to be the part of Pakistan and the Hindu majority states were to be part of India. More ever there were also around 562 princely states, which were also asked either to join India or Pakistan, according to their demography and Geography. Out of 562 princely states, the accession of three princely states Junagarh, Hyderabad and Jammu & Kashmir became controversial.

Junagarh was a Hindu majority state ruled by a Muslim ruler, Muhammad Mahabat khanji 3rd, who decided to merge his state with Pakistan. On 15th August 1947, the Nawab announced the accession of Junagarh with Pakistan and on 13th September 1947, the government of Pakistan accepted his accession. But India refused to accept the accession of Junagarh with Pakistan citing the reasons, that the accession went against the principles of two nation theory, that in case of any state where the issue of accession has been the question of dispute between the ruler and its people, the future of such a state would be decided according to the wishes of the people through a plebiscite. Sardar Patel that time home minister of India demanded a plebiscite to be held in Junagarh but Pakistan did not respond to his demands on plebiscite. Finally India sent her troops into Junagarh and on 20 February, 1948, India forced a plebiscite on Junagarh in which 91% of people voted in favor of India.  Thus India justified her forceful plebiscite of Junagarh on the principles of two nation theory.

Hyderabad was the largest among the all princely states, it was ruled by a Muslim ruler Nizam Usman Ali and most of his subjects were Hindus. The Nizam wanted to remain independent irrespective of joining with India or Pakistan. Nizam also wrote to Mountbatten to accept his proposal to be the future member of British Commonwealth but Mountbatten refused Nizams request and advised Nizam to accede either to India or Pakistan. On the other hand the Indian leadership was also becoming impatient with the Nizams delaying tactics and did not accepted the Nizams proposal of Independence and forcibly annexed the Hyderabad state by using carrot and stick policy. On 13th September 1948 India carried out the “operation polo” for four days and invaded the whole of Hyderabad.

Jammu and Kashmir was another princely state whose 77% Muslim population was ruled by a Hindu Dogra King namely Hari Singh. Hari Singh also wanted to remain independent; however some raiders from north frontier regions of Pakistan attacked Kashmir to avenge the killings of six lakh Muslims in Jammu region by the Hindu fanatic groups like RSS in collaboration with the dogra soldiers of Hari Singh. Hari Singh in haste sought help from India, but India did not lend any sort of help to him until he was first made to sign the accession treaty with India. India accepted the accession on certain conditions, that once the law and order will be established in Jammu and Kashmir, the future of Jammu and Kashmir will be decided by the wishes of the people, that Pandit Nehru reassured not only to that time leadership of Kashmir but also to the international community as well. On 3rd November 1947 while addressing to his nation he said “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people, that pledge we have given and the maharaja has supported it not only to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also to the world, we will not and cannot back out of it”. But later on, India never fulfilled its promises.  This led to the first war between India and Pakistan. In 1948, Nehru took Kashmir issue to United Nations Organization and on 1st January 1949, United Nations Security Council recognised Kashmir as a disputed territory and called for a plebiscite to be conducted in whole of Jammu and Kashmir, so that people should decide either to join India or Pakistan. But India never accepted any of the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir. Between 1948 and 1972, United Nations passed about 23 resolutions on the Kashmir issue.

After 1947, India backtracked from its commitments and promises on plebiscite, which she made to the leadership of Kashmir and to the international community as well. Thus people of Jammu & Kashmir particularly the Muslim majority of Kashmir valley which are the largest indigenous people of the state start revolting against the Indian rule in Kashmir. Since then there has been a deep resentment against the Indian state and its forces that carried out worst level of human rights violations in Kashmir that includes rapes, torture, custodial killings and disappearances.

If one goes by the policies and rules which India followed in annexing Junagarh and Hyderabad then if same logic is applied to the state of Kashmir then Pakistan has every legal right on whole state of Jammu & Kashmir, because if India is justifying the annexation of Kashmir on the Kings consent then the Nawab of Junagarh also signed the accession treaty with the Pakistan. The requisite which makes Jammu & Kashmir a part of Indian state same rules makes Junagarh and Hyderabad as the parts of the Pakistani state. And in UNO Pakistan has still claims on Junagarh and did not consider Junagarh as an Indian territory. The rules which were applied on Junagarh and Hyderabad should also be applied to the state of Jammu and Kashmir so that the people of Kashmir should also decide their future in the same manner in which the people of Junagarh and Hyderabad decided their future.

(The Author is a freelance writer and also works with Kashmir Reacts. Views expressed are his personal)

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