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July 19th: The history and significance of Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan Day

July 19th is seen as “Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan Day” by Kashmiris living on both sides of the Land of Control

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Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan Day has been analyzed in-depth by the history enthusiast who goes by the name Fidato on twitter. In a recent twitter thread, Fidato deconstructed the importance of the day, as well as the history behind it.

July 19th is seen as “Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan Day” by Kashmiris living on both sides of the Land of Control, as well as in other parts of the world. It is observed with the renewal of the pledge to fight for Kashmir’s freedom under India’s occupation.

On this day, in 1947, Kashmiris embraced a historic resolution from the platform of ‘All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference’ in Srinagar, calling for Jammu and Kashmir to to have access by Pakistan.

According to Fidato, in 1846, Kashmir was sold, along with its people and resources, to a warlord for 7.5 million Nanakshahi Rupees by the British “to the absolute power of one of the meanest, most avaricious, cruel and unprincipled of men that ever sat upon a throne.” Each inhabitant of Kashmir was worth 25 Shillings, making it “the most extensive transaction in the slave trade” during that time.

The next century of this regime is “a long story of pain, suffering and misery of Kashmiri Muslims, the account of which melts even the hardest of hearts,” says Fidato.

Albion Rajkumar Banerjee resigned in 1929, on moral grounds, after he observed how Dogras treated their Muslim subjects. This includes the fact that a large Muslim population was illiterate, working under the poverty line with low economic conditions in the villages they lived in. He also claimed that they were “practically governed like dumb driven cattle.”

Read more: The story of intrigues, deception & the dual accession of Kashmir

Kashmiri Muslims were treated worse than animals. The most oppressive practice of ‘begar’ was the worst exhibition of the Dogra regime, with an unspecified number of able-bodied Muslims, serving as beasts of burden, being killed by dangerous mountain routes, only to be eaten by wild animals. The powerless people, says Fidato, were usually taken for ‘begar’ when they were busy on their farms.

There is a memory, recalled by Tyndale Biscoe, where a grandfather of one of his servants was traded for a Chinese dog. Because of this, many Muslims migrated to Punjab and other places outside of Kashmir to escape the torment which was a result of ‘begar.’

The migration was to such an enormous scale, that, in 1891, the Punjab Census Report calculated about 111,775 Kashmir born Muslims settled in Punjab. Yet, ‘begar’ continued for 30 more years.

For a “Muslim majority state, there were only 718 Muslim teachers out of a total number of 2,201; only three Muslim headmasters in middle schools out of 49 and one in 14 high schools had a Muslim Headmaster,” mentions Fidato.

Rea more: Forgotten Women of Kashmir: Thirty Years On…!

During the partition, the Maharajah declared Kashmir was neither Indian nor Pakistani. This was a ploy to preserve his autocracy. His kingdom was 77% Muslim, but Kashmir was 92% Muslim, sharing a border with Pakistan and none with India. Based on religion and geography, Kashmir should have belonged to Pakistan. The resolution, which was unanimously passed at the residence of Sardar Ibrahim in 1947, said that the ‘existing religious, geographical, cultural, economic ties and aspirations of millions of Kashmiri Muslims warrant accession of the state of J&K with Pakistan.’

This was logically the right decision made as “almost all of J&K’s major geographical, communication and economic links were with areas of western Punjab and KP Province that were to become part of Pakistan.” One railway line which entered J&K was a part of the North Western Railway from Sialkot, around 25 miles away in Pakistan, from J&K’s winter capital, Jammu City.

Like this railway line, the main road to Jammu City was from Sialkot. From the three roads which entered Srinagar, J&K’s summer capital, two entered from places which were to become a part of Pakistan.

Economically, accession to Pakistan was feasible as J&K’s links with areas that were to become part of this new territory were very important. Up to 98% of the non timber exports from the Kashmir Valley went via the Jhelum Valley Road to Rawalpindi – Rawalpindi was considered the ‘warehouse’ for goods to and from the Kashmir Valley. Goods to and from J&K were carried on the western rail network to Karachi; the traditional port for the princely state. Due to proximity, Karachi had a 65 per cent freight advantage over goods sent to Bombay or Calcutta.

Read more: Kashmir, Gurdaspur & Mountbatten?

The resolution presented by Khawaja Ghulam-ud-Din Wani and Abdul Rahim Wani, with 59 leaders also in attendance on 19th July, 1947 led to the Poonch rebellion and eventually, to the liberation of Azad Kashmir. The freedom struggle still continues to this day after 7 decades with full vigor.

Fidato mentinons the latest report made by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service (KMS) on 5th July 2022, which states “Indian troops in their continued acts of state terrorism martyred 140 Kashmiris including five boys from Jan 1, 2022 till first week of July 2022 in Jammu and Kashmir.” The report also says that 19 boys were killed in fake encounters, and 854 were arrested in the last six months in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). Indian troops have destroyed over 34 houses and structures, using chemical substances during cordon and search operations.

Indian Occupation Forces have amplified extra-judicial killings of Kashmiris, particularly targeting the youth, and demolishing houses belonging to innocent Muslims, as a result of the malafide conviction and sentencing of Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik.

Read more: Kashmir in the world’s court

Yet, even after all this, Fidato claims that “no tyranny lasts forever. Israelites were enslaved for 400 years before Moses rescued them. Macau remained a Portuguese colony from 1557 to 1999. The Indian subcontinent was plundered by the British for 200 years. Kashmir will see freedom. It’s inevitable!”

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