JAMMU GENOCIDE OF 1947
By Abdul Majid Zargar
-Kashmir Watch, archives 2010-
It is one of the least known genocides in the modern
history. It was carried out with such a precision that it is difficult to find its traces, except in the memories of the survivors, and the tales of
horror they passed on to their next generation. Around four to five lakh Muslims were killed with a military precision. It was such an operation that
language lacks words to express this offence of demolition of human being.
Though the targeted killing had already started in Jammu around Mid
September 1947, the operation got a fillip immediately after fleeing Maharaja Hari Singh & his wife reached Jammu on October 25th 1947. An organised
carnage was orchestrated to kill Muslims, wherever found or spotted in Jammu.
British daily "the London Times" quoting its special correspondent
in India states that the Maharaja, under his own supervision, got assassinated 2,37,000 Muslims, using military forces in Jammu area. The editor of
"Statesman" Ian Stephen, in his book "Horned Moon" writes that till the end of autumn 1947 , more than 200,000 Muslims were murdered in one go.
The Hindu Dogra ruler’s main aim was to change the demographic composition of the region by eliminating the Muslim population. Such was the
intensity of carnage that in Jammu province about 123 villages were ‘completely depopulated’. Kathua district ‘lost’ almost
fifty per cent of its Muslim population. Thousands of Gujars were massacred in mohalla Ram Nagar. Village Raipur, within Jammu cantonment area was
completely burnt down. The Dogra state troops were at the forefront of attacks on Muslims. The state authorities were also issuing arms not only to
local volunteer organizations such as RSS, but to those in surrounding East Punjab districts such as Gurdaspur. The state administration had not only
demobilised a large number of Muslim soldiers serving in the state army, but Muslim police officers, whose loyalty was suspect, had also been sent
home. In Jammu city, the Muslim military were disarmed and the Jammu cantonment Brigadier Khuda Baksh replaced by a Hindu Dogra officer. Meanwhile
Maharaja of Patiala was not only supplying weapons, but also a Brigade of Patiala State troops were also operating in Jammu and Kashmir, without
whose help & assistance ,the objective could not have been achieved with such a precision . The daily Times of London reported the events in Jammu
with such a front page headings: ‘Elimination of Muslims from Jammu’ and pointed out that the Maharaja Hari Singh was ‘in person
commanding all the forces’ which were ethnically cleansing the Muslims.
That there was a design to change the demographics is evidenced
by another well-reported incident. Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehr Chand Mahajan upon arrival in Jammu told a delegation of Hindus, which
met him in the Palace, that now when the power was being transferred to the people they should better demand parity. When one of the delegation
members wanted to know how that is possible, Mahajan, Pointing to the Ramnagar natural reserve below, where some Muslim corpses were still lying
said, ‘the population ratio too can change’ like that.( Elimination of Muslims from Jammu’ II, The Times, London, 10 August 1948, p.
Both documentary and oral sources suggest that the crime committed on the Muslims was nothing less than an organized holocaust. Sheikh Mohd.
Abdullah, who was appointed “ Chief Emergency Administrator” on 30th October 1947 could not prevent the carnage. He writes in his
Autobiography Atish Chinar (page 312)“ that the carnage got impetus after the arrival of Union Home Minster Sardar Patel, Union Defence Minster
Baldev Singh along with Maharaja of Patiala, a person known for his anti-Muslim bias, in Jammu. The trio met various Hindu organizations &
delegations, after which the massacre attained a great momentum. Hindu fanatics, aided & abetted by Govt. forces, started burning down village after
village inhabited by Muslims. Women were raped at will. Muslims were told to assemble in an open ground, herded in trucks like cattle & killed
mercilessly with Machine Gun fire. Women were abducted & raped. Even the daughter of Legendary Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas was not spared. Many women
preferred death than falling prey to the cruel beasts, who do not tire calling themselves as secular people.
On ground the killing
operations were organized, directed & supervised by Maharani Tara Devi in league with her Debauch Guru Sat Dev & Governor Jammu Chet Ram Chopra. At
administrative level Sheikh puts the blame solely on Dogra ruler Hari Singh and Prime Minster Mahajan . At one point of time Sheikh had even
thought of initiating action against the duo for crimes against humanity (Atish Chinar-page 331).But why did’nt he translate his thoughts into
action, remains shrouded in mystery. Did he surrender this right as quid pro quid for Prime Minstership, which came his way in March 1948? As is
generally known, Govt. Of India & Dogra ruler were only interested in conceding him a limited role in a “Mysore type of Govt.”But later
this plan was changed & sheikh offered full fledged prime Minstership.
The other aspect of the carnage was appropriation of properties of
Muslims. The Muslim names were immediately erased to conform to new ownership. Almost ninety five per cent of left over properties which should have,
in the normal course been taken over by State Govt, was allowed to be appropriated by looters & rioters. The daily Telegraph of London reported on 12
January 1948: ‘Yet another element in the situation is provided by rioters who seized Muslim lands in Jammu… they originated the
massacres there last October to clear for themselves new territory.
Another incident needs a mention here. When Hindu refugees from
Muzaffarabad & surrounding areas reaching Kashmir desired to be sent to Jammu or Punjab, local muslims motivated Kashmiri “Tonga-wallas”
(horse-cart drivers) to transport them to Jammu against heavy odds. Initially 22 “tongawallas” were hired. They were later joined by many
others from Khannabal-Qazigund rural belt. On return all these poor “tongawalls” were massacred near Nagrota. Their only fault was that
they made Hindu refugees to reach their destinations safely.
Those people who want to see this carnage against the background of Partition of
India followed by ferocious riots in various states may have a point. But what makes this holocaust unique is the complicity of State on the one hand
& the exemplary treatment of Kashmiri Muslims to its minorities on the other hand, given the grave provocation of Jammu genocide . Mahtama Gandhi was
so disgusted with the carnage that on two occasions ( November 27, & December 27 1947), he made mention of it in following words.
Hindus and Sikhs of Jammu and those who had gone there from outside killed Muslims there. Their women have been dishonored. This has not been fully
reported in the newspapers. The Maharaja of Kashmir is responsible for what has happened there” (Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi; volume 90,
page 115 & 298).
It is no wonder then when that apostle of peace was killed by a RSS supported Hindu fanatic, sweets were distributed
throughout Jammu in special Thalis supplied from Maharaja’s Palace.
A fitting tribute to those unsung Martyrs of Jammu will be to install
a symbolic Epitaph with brief inscription of the incident at Mazar-i-Shuda, Idd-gah. Let the first line of that inscription be
Rouz e Mahshar, Chhupegaa Kushtoon Kaa Khoon Kyoon Kar,
Jo Chup Rahegi Zubaan- e- Khanjar, Lahoo Pukaaregaa Aasteen Kaa.”
author is a practicing Chartered Accountant)
-Kashmir Watch, archives 2010-