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Thursday, February 15, 2024

The myth of `integral part’: Nehru’s perfidy

Nehru with the help of his cronies coerced with Kashmir's leadership at the time and convinced them with producing Article 370 which gave total autonomy to Kashmir. Nehru did not plan on going through with his promises and left the Kashmir issue hanging.

It is painful to see Kashmiris suffer under India’s yoke. But, the bitter truth is that Kashmiri leaders themselves misled their people. Pandit Jawahar Lal Kaul (assumed surname Nehru) managed to befool Sheikh Abdullah. Barkha Dutt recalls (This Unquiet Land, p. 154), `In a 1948 speech to the United Nations, Sheikh Abdullah, the most formidable political leader the state of Jammu and Kashmir had ever seen, made a blistering defense of the accession to India. Sher-e-Kashmir (Lion of Kashmir) roared: I had thought all along that the world had got rid of  Hitler, but what is happening in my poor country I am convinced that they have transmigrated their souls into Pakistan. I refuse to accept Pakistan as a party in the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir’.

Dutt says, “Sheikh Abdullah [later] began to talk about the possibility of independent Kashmir. Nehru feared Abdullah may even announce to accede to Pakistan. To pacify Abdullah, Nehru addressed a lengthy letter to Sheikh Abdullah on 25 August 1952 to assure him, `If the Constituent Assembly told India to get out of Kashmir, we would get out, because under no circumstances can we remain here against the expressed will of the people’.

On 7 August BBC quoted Abdullah’s speech: `If I felt that by remaining independent of India and Pakistan, Kashmir would be well off, I would not hesitate to raise my voice in favor of complete freedom for Kashmir. If I felt that Kashmir’s betterment lay in its accession to Pakistan, no power in the world could silence my voice’. On August 8, he was jailed and dismissed from office and was not allowed to lead the state for another twenty years’.

Accession myth

The factual position is that India marched its troops into Kashmir without Maharajah’s permission – an act of aggression. Historian Alastair Lamb, in his book Incomplete Partition (Chapter VI: The Accession Crisis, pp. 149-151) points out that Mountbatten wanted India not to intervene militarily without first getting `instrument of accession’ from maharajah [prince] Hari Singh.  Not doing so would amount to `intervening in the internal affairs of what was to all intents and purposes an independent state in the throes of civil conflict’.

But, India did not heed his advice. Lamb says `timing of the alleged instrument of Accession undoubtedly affected its legitimacy'(p.172, ibid). He adds `If in fact, it took place after the Indian intervention, then it could well be argued that it was either done under Indian duress or to regularise an Indian fait accompli’.

`Instrument of Accession’ is not registered with United Nations India took the Kashmir issue to the UN in 1948 under article 35 of Chapter VI which outlines the means for a peaceful settlement

Lamb concludes (p. 191, ibid):`According to Wolpert, V. P. Menon returned to Delhi from Srinagar on the morning of 26 October with no signed Instrument of Accession. Only after the Indian troops had started landing at Srinagar airfield on the morning of 27 October did V. P. Menon and M. C. Mahajan set out from Delhi from Jammu. The Instrument of Accession, according to Wolpert, was only signed by Maharaja Sir Hari Singh [if signed at all] after Indian troops had assumed control of the Jammu and Kashmir State’s summer capital, Srinagar.

Lamb regards the so-called Instrument of Accession, ‘signed’ by the maharajah of Kashmir on October 26, 1947, as fraudulent (Kashmir – A disputed legacy 1846-1990). He argues that the maharajah was traveling by road to Jammu (a distance of over 350 km). How could he sign the instrument while being on the run for safety of his life? There is no evidence of any contact between him and the Indian emissaries on October 26, 1947. Actually, it was on October 27, 1947, that the Maharaja was informed by MC Mahajan and VP Menon (who had flown into Srinagar) that an Instrument of Accession is being fabricated in New Delhi. Obviously, the Maharaja could not have signed the instrument earlier than October 27, 1947. Lamb points out Indian troops had already arrived at and secured Srinagar airfield during the middle of October 1947. On October 26, 1947, a further airlift of thousands of Indian troops to Kashmir took place.

He questions: “Would the Maharajah have signed the Instrument of Accession, had the Indian troops not been on Kashmiri soil?” Actually, it was on October 27, 1947, that the Maharaja was informed. The instrument remains null and void, even if the maharajah had actually signed it. In his later work, Birth of a Tragedy, Lamb claimed that Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir never signed the Instrument of Accession at all.

No allegiance to the Indian constitution: The ‘Instrument’ expresses ‘intention to set up an interim government and to ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities’ with Maharaja’s Prime Minister. By Balkanising the disputed state, India tore the Instrument of Accession, even otherwise doubtful, to shreds. Para 7 of the Instrument of Accession, `signed’ by Maharaja Hari Singh ostensibly on October  26, 1947 stated, “nothing in this Instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future Constitution of India or to fetter accession resolution, passed by the occupied Kashmir’s ‘constituent assembly’.

Read more: Modi’s Kashmir move: A disgrace to Nehru’s Legacy

Subsequent accession resolution, passed by the occupied Kashmir’s ‘constituent assembly’ is also void. This resolution violates the Security Council’s resolutions forbidding India from going ahead with the accession farce. Aware of India’s intention to get the ‘Instrument of Accession’ rubber-stamped by the puppet assembly, the Security Council passed two resolutions, Security Council’s Resolution No 9 of March 30, 1951, and confirmatory Resolution No 122 of March 24, 1957,  to forestall the `foreseeable accession’.

It is eerie to note that `Instrument of Accession’ is not registered with United Nations India took the Kashmir issue to the UN in 1948 under article 35 of Chapter VI which outlines the means for a peaceful settlement of disputes on Jammu and Kashmir state, not under Chapter VII dubbing Pakistan as `aggressor’. India knew at heart that she herself was an aggressor.

Nehru’s perfidy: At heart, Nehru, architect of `special status’, never cared a fig for the disputed state’s constituent assembly, Indian parliament or the UN. At a press conference on June 11, 1951, Nehru said  “We have made it perfectly clear that the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir was not meant to decide finally any such question [accession], and it is not in the way of any decision which may ultimately flow from the Security Council proceedings”.

Read more: Pakistan Stands with Kashmir: Gandhi & Nehru’s Secular India is dead

He wrote to the disputed State’s prime minister that after consideration of the problem, we are inclined to think that it (plebiscite) should be held under United Nations’ auspices (p.28, Neighbours at Odd.). He reiterated in New Delhi on November 3, 1951, that we have made it perfectly clear before the Security Council that the Kashmir Constituent Assembly does not (insofar) as we are concerned come in the way of a decision by the Security Council, or the United Nations’.

Wow, then he declared `unless the Security Council functioned under some other Sections of the Charter, it cannot make a decision which is binding upon us unless we agree to it. They are functioning as mediators and a mediator means getting people to agree (SWJ, Volume 19, page 241). India violated jus cogen `pacta sunt servanda’ (treaties are to be observed). As such, it qualifies as a rogue state.

Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been contributing free-lance for over five decades. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies and magazines at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is author of seven e-books including Terrorism, Jihad, Nukes and other Issues in Focus (ISBN: 9781301505944). He holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law. His article `Rampant corruption in India’ is archived with Transparency International, `Belt-Road initiative moderndiplomacy.eu’, with Kennedy Centre, USA, `Chanakya’s Misprint on India’s foreign policy” with People’s Review Nepal.