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jammu-massacre

Today is 6th November, the day we commemorate in  memory of  victims of Jammu massacre  1947 , many of whom even didn’t know their fault to go to grave. A people which had faithfully obeyed & served the whole clan of Hindu Dogra rulers for almost a century, fell to the evil plans & contrived machinations of the same very rulers. But before the veil is pierced to look at these tyrannical faces , it is appropriate and in order to recall an instance of a nearby State, Chamba (Now in Himachal Pradesh) to dispel the notion that all Hindu rules were cruel or tyrants.

Upon partition of India, some three thousand Muslims of Chamba  desired to migrate to Pakistan in the beginning of October 1947. Since the shortest rout to their new destination fell through J&K, Their   ruler, Mahraja Laxaman Singh, personally accompanied them upto to Kashmir Border in Bhaderwah district. On way he  publicly warned all marauders & RSS cadres  to lay off, as  being his subjects , it was his responsibility  to ensure that they did not come to any harm in his territory. The brave ruler  personally bade them good bye at the border. But what happened to them, thereafter in our state is another story to be told   a little later?

A question then naturally arises, as to what overriding reasons or  factors  prompted & motivated Dogra ruler Hari Singh to mercilessly kill or cause to be killed his own faithful subjects contrary to golden principles of ‘Raj Dharma’, to which he  was supposed to have  adhered  to. All archival material, recorded evidences & statement of eye-witnesses clearly establish beyond any doubt that massacre of Muslims in Jammu in 1947 was a planned State affair. The Dogra ruler, having decided to accede to India much before the actual partition of sub-continent took place in August 1947 was, however circumspect because his State was a 80% Muslim Majority State. Muslims of Jammu, having more social & cultural affinity with Punjabi Muslims,  were  eager to Join Pakistan as against the Valley Muslims politically ruled by Sheikh Abdullah who, admittedly was not favorably disposed towards Pakistan. It was therefore, militarily logical & politically feasible that the demographics of  Jammu be changed to  facilitate the entry of Indian army into the State without much resistance and to make the political rule that much easier.

And in this macabre game of bloodbath, Hari Singh received logistical support from two Maharajas of  nearby states M/s Yadavindra Singh & Jagjit Singh Bhadur of Patiala & Kapurthala respectively,  at the instance of Union Home Minster Sardar Patel & Defence Minster Baldev Singh who enjoyed strong rapport & friendly relations with these two Mahrajas. Psychological support was provided by Golwalker & other RSS functionaries like B.R.Agrekar, provincial President RSS. The administration consisting of Prime Minster Mehr Chand Mahajan & Governor Jammu Chet Ram Chopra got the plan executed with military precision through Dogra Army, Patiala forces & RSS cadres from Jammu & neighboring areas. That the middle & lower rung officials of the administration were fully involved in the pogrom is established by following instances.

  1. For Jammu, Samba & Kathua-Prem Nath Dogra-Retired SDM was the organizer of training camps for RSS cadres. Bulk arms were stores & distributed from  his house at Kach Chawni and armed training Camps were organized at Vaid Mandir, Raghunath Mandir, Talab Rani,  & Gurdwara Pacci Dhaki.
  2. In Udhampur, Dev Raj Dogra, Tehsildar, Lachman Dass Ex-SP and Chaman Lal, S.I were the organizers of RSS training
  3. In Ram Nagar, Chander Ubay Singh-Tehsildar & Darshan Singh-S.I  were incharge of training camps.
  4. In Padder Bodh Raj Bali-SI & Kali Dass Zaildar were the organisers.
  5. At Reasi & Katra- Dina Nath-Ranger, Shambu Nath son of Ganga Ram Minster, Goverdhan Singh-Waziri Wazarat, Jia Lal Darbari ASP and Manohar Lal SI were in charge to execute the pogrom.
  6. In Jammu, the Hindu doctors at Govt. Hospital were directed not to provide any medical aid to injured Muslims. Barring one noble exception of a kind hearted Doctor, Partap Singh, all the doctors fell to palace diktats in brazen violation of their professional ethics. In this scene reminiscent of Karbala, Two Muslim doctors of Jammu Dr. Abdul Karim & Dr. Rehmutullah set up a Hospital   in the Haveli of Sardar Mohd. Akram Khan at talab Khatikhan. Dressing & antiseptic material  was supplied surreptitiously by Dr. Partap Singh through a Harijan Sweeper.  Water was boiled in big cooking pots. Ordinary soft cloth was cut into small pieces to be used dressing pads. Turbans & Dopattas were cut lengthwise to act as bandages.

And finally the fate of 3000 Muslims of Chamba, whose mention I have made earlier. Once in the State of J&K , Governor Chet Ram chopra issued orders from Jammu requiring them to proceed immediately  towards Pakistan . Instead of providing them a passage through a safer route  , these refugees were directed to move Via Bani (Kathua). Muslims of Bhaderwah  made franatic efforts through S.P Udhampur, Sheikh Mohd. Saleem, to stop their migration till such time, the carnage stops in Jammu but all in vain. It was a devious plot crafted by Chopra to get  all these   defenseless persons killed through  the rampaging mobs of marauders & RSS Goons .And true to his  plot, none among these 3000 persons reached his/her new destination. SP Udhampur,  Sheikh Mohd. Saleem was soon replaced by a communal officer, Sant  Pindi Dass for resisting the orders from Chopra.

A question which baffles every student of history is the inertia & non-action by Abdullah ,who soon became prime Minster of  the state with unbridled  powers, to take action against the   planners & organizers of this holocaust . Instead, his administration  promoted many involved officials,  to higher positions   in a routine way, as if nothing had happened. Does it point to his passive complicity in the pogrom or a general amnesty to the killers to ensure a smooth political & administrative sailing? Whatever be the case, the non-action against the killers created and institutionalized a culture of impunity  in the state    which continues to be enjoyed by its various arms  uninterrupted till date.

(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E mail: abdulmajidzargar@gmail.com)

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