Faustian Bargain of SMA with India

By M.J. Aslam

Today after 70 years, Kashmiris are struggling hard to protect “semblance” of their Unique Culture and Identity that was “guaranteed” under Articles 370 and 35-A of the Constitution of India to them. Article 370 , as mentioned in my previous column “Constitutional Games” published in KW, was a conduit pipe used by India with the pro-active help of its trusted political agency in Kashmir, NC, to “constitutionally” connect JK with India to give credence to its Military Control over the territory. Article 370 was much for the NC supporters in JK to rejoice that Indian leadership has recognized and legalised “constitutional” special status of JK within Union of India. But it hardly needs elucidation that this so called special status was never there in the Constitution for the reasons mentioned above that it was historically speaking only way India could bargain with NC to get its foot firm in JK. Article 370 which if at all guaranteed special status to JK, it was immediately taken back right from day one by transporting almost whole constitution into JK through puppet regimes and thereafter through their successors in office, rendering Article 370 a figurative provision in the Constitution. Article 35-A which is an offshoot of Article 370 recognizing and protecting age old property, employment and scholarship rights of the State Subjects has already been brought at judicial altar where it may be also sacrificed for conceiving the child of total merger of JK with India because in the words of A G Noorani, Article 370 has been already raped multiple times but without any Indian Child borne out of it. So, the child of final Merger they ( Indian Rulers) want see in abrogation of Article 35-A.

Was all this SMA (Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah) might have had dreamt of or desired while surreptitiously tying knot with India? We cannot have accurate answer to it as the man is dead. However, from the developments from the date of his “orchestrated release” on 29-09-1947 till 27-10-1947 are absolutely important to know and understand what was his mind at the most crucial time of JK history.

For this, we shall have to recall to our minds certain relevant historical facts when a team of highly respected members of Muslim League, namely,Mian Iftikhar-ud-Din, Brigadier Habib-ur-Rehman, Dr Muhammad Din Taseer, and Sheikh Sadiq Hassan – mostly of Kashmiri origin– reached Kashmir to hold talks with SMA . They had been deputed by MA Jinnah to impress upon SMA to favour Kashmir’ s immediate accession to Pakistan. The delegation offered SMA “complete internal autonomy” and also “the right to secede”. The delegation was highly disappointed on hearing the reply of SMA that NC’s demand is complete freedom from Dogra rule. SMA’s mantra was first freedom from Dogra rule and then accession. He promised the delegation that he will send G M Sadiq for further talks with the GOP and fix the date for his meeting with MA Jinnah. Sadiq was sent to Pakistan where he met Khan Liyaqat Ali Khan & Raja Gazanfar Ali Khan. He was assured by the Pak authorities that Kashmir would be granted “complete internal autonomy” and that Only Defence, Communication and Foreign Policy would remain with Pakistan, if Kashmir acceded with Pakistan. Khan Liyaqat Ali Khan sent a letter to SMA through G M Sadiq in which apart from autonomy, Pakistan authorities were offering SMA “representation in the Foreign Service department”, and assuring that Kashmir’s interest would be given supreme attention when formulating Foreign Policy of the country. SME told them that he would first talk to Pandit Nehru Ji in this regard and went to Delhi to talk to his intimate friend, Pandit Nehru Ji.

So, it was quite apparent to the people near him that SMA wanted to become Prime Minister under the aegis of Maharaja. (It was told by SMA to Munshi M. Isaaq in person in clear terms )

G M Sadiq, who was sent to Pakistan, after concluding his talks with Pak Authorities did not return to Srinagar. He under the “pre-meditated plot” went straight to Delhi where SMA was already stationed at the residence of Nehru . He handed over letter of invitation (containing aforesaid offers from Pak to him ) , from M A Jinnah that was given to him by Khan L Ali Khan, to SMA who passed it on to Nehru who got the “clue” from this letter as to on which points after few days accession of JK was to got done with MHS on three things which were reflected in the document of accession.

A brazen white lie was spread by NC workers in Srinagar that Jinnah had refused to meet SMA and told G M Sadiq and other members of the delegation that Jinnah did not want to meet SMA as in his opinion SMA was not a Muslim. Munshi M. Isaaq has denied all this as gibberish. All these historical facts are missing in SMA’’s Aatish-Chinar.

[[Munshi Isaaq, Nida-i-Haq (Srinagar: Kashmir Book Foundation, 2014), pages 181, 182, 184; Rashid Taseer, Tahrik-i-Hurriyat-i-Kashmir, Srinagar: Muhafiz Publications, (1973) Vol. III, P. 274-275]].

It may not be out of context to mention here that “Colonel Webb noted in May 1946, the future Indian Prime Minister’s “violently partisan attitude” was “based on untrue reports regarding Kashmir made to him by SMA’s lieutenants in Delhi and Lahore who fabricated entirely false news”. [[Alaister Lamb, Birth of a Tragedy, page 48]]

Note: The above-mentioned events took place immediately after SMA was released from jail on 29-09-1947 under a well thought of “planning” of INC with NC’s leadership before Tribal Invasion of 22nd October 1947.

Note: The views are personal of the author and not of the Organisation he works for.

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