The massacre of Jummu

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The memories of November 6, 1947 carry some very bitter realities which can’t be forgotten. It was the blackest day not only in the history of Jammu & Kashmir but the whole world. It is also known as genocides in modern history. Thousands of Muslims, who were migrating to Pakistan, massacred in Jammu region by mobs and paramilitaries led by the army of Dogra ruler Hari Singh. The exact number of casualties in the killings that continued for two months estimated range from 20,000 to 237,000 and nearly half million forced into displacement across the border into the newly created nation of Pakistan and its administered part of Kashmir.  The killings took place when millions of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs were crossing the border from the one side to the other, as part of British-designed plan to partition the subcontinent into India and Pakistan. “The immediate impact (of partition) was in Jammu. The Muslim subjects from different parts of Jammu province were forcibly displaced by the Dogra Army in a programme of expulsion and murder carried out over three weeks between October-November 1947,” Idrees Kanth, a fellow at International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, who researched the 1940s history of Kashmir, told in one of his interviews. In mid-October, the Dogra Army troops began expelling Muslim villagers from Jammu province. The refugees were sent on foot toward West Punjab (later to form part of Pakistan), where most were accommodated in refugee camps in the districts of Sialkot, Jhelum, Gujrat and Rawalpindi.

On November 5, the Dogra Army soldiers began another organised evacuation of the Muslims but “instead of taking them to Sialkot, as they had been promised, the trucks drove them to forest hills of Rajouri districts of Jammu, where they were executed. The historians say that the killings carried out by the Hindu ruler’s army and Sikh army was a “state sponsored genocide” to bring out demographic changes in Jammu, a region which had an overwhelming population of Muslims. The Muslims, who constituted more than 60 percent of the population of Jammu region, were reduced to a minority after the killings and displacement. Five days after the Jammu killings the army of tribesmen from Pakistan’s North Western Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), rushed to Kashmir, the army of Dogra monarch fled to Jammu. The king Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession with New Delhi, which sent its army to fight the tribesmen. The fighting of several weeks between tribesmen and Indian Army eventually led to first India-Pakistan war. When New Delhi and Islamabad agreed to a ceasefire in January 1948, the formerly princedom of Jammu and Kashmir was divided between the two countries. All this butchery was designed to change the demographics of Jammu valley. Both documentary and oral sources suggest that this bloodbath was nothing less than an organized holocaust of Muslims. The clashes of protesters with Indian Army, mostly throwing rocks and government forces responding with bullets and shotgun pellets is something which can be seen daily on the roads of Indian occupied Kashmir but the love and passion of Kashmiri youth for their right of self determination never seems to be lessened. The resolution of the Kashmir dispute has been made intractable over the years due to the premise of Indian Pakistani bilateralism in dealing with the dispute and furthermore the behaviour of India and state of denial from their side.  The issue should be resolved under UN resolutions regarding plebiscite but in presence of Indian oppression and state terrorism it is impossible. Full political freedoms throughout Kashmir must be honored, including freedom of assembly, speech, and press. Kashmir must be open to the international community, with open access to foreign organizations for monitoring elections/plebiscite. In order to avoid in South Asia an untenable situation like that in the Middle East, the dispute over Kashmir, the world’s most dangerous conflict, must and can only be resolved in either way.

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