June 11: Quaid-e-Azam declares policy of not putting any pressure on any state in making its choice.
July 19: Convention of Muslim Conference urges Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan.
August 11: British Indian government returns Gilgit, leased to it in 1934, to Maharaja.
August 14/15: Pakistan and India are established as sovereign states. British supremacy over princely states ends. Standstill Agreement between Kashmir and Pakistan takes place for continuance of existing arrangements of trade, communications and services which had been maintained with outgoing British Indian government (virtually all inherited by Pakistan).
August 17: Red Cliff Award is published. (Cyril Red Cliff, a London barrister, headed Boundary Commission to establish partition lines between Pakistan and India in divided provinces of Punjab and Bengal.) By splitting Gurdaspur district – a Muslim-majority area allotted to Pakistan in ‘notional division’, the Award provided India with road link to Kashmir and made it practicable for Maharaja to accede to India or establish military alliance with it. Maharaja, having excluded option of joining Pakistan, adopts three-point strategy
(i) to make road to India serviceable – all existing roads lead to Pakistan; (ii) to concentrate his troops in areas bordering Pakistan to deter insurgencies and seal frontier against incursions; (iii) to establish close working relationship with Indian government without formal accession, if possible and with it, if necessary.
August 26: Armed uprising against Maharaja’s forces begins in Poonch. Fighting spreads quickly throughout the area inhabited by ex-servicemen of British Indian army.
September 29: Shaikh Abdullah is released by Maharaja’s “act of royal clemency” while Chowdhary Ghulam Abbas continues to remain incarcerated.
Armed bands of extremist militant Hindu party in India, the Rashstrya Sevak Sang (RSS) enter Jammu and are deployed at various places, including Uri and Muzaffarabad in Kashmir. Killing of Muslims is accelerated in interior of Hindu-majority areas – Maharaja himself giving signal at place named Deva Vatala.
Military plans for “re-conquering Kashmir” – words used by a senior aide and confidant of Maharaja – for Maharaja are advanced with promise of arms supplies from Indian government. Wireless equipment for Srinagar airfield is provided. Preparations are made for Indian troops concentrations in vicinity of State. Indian Defence Minister Baldev Singh and Home Minister Vallabhai Patel facilitate arrangements for enlisting Patiala state troops as reinforcement for Maharaja’s army. One senior officer of Indian army, a kinsman of Maharaja, is stationed in Srinagar.
October 12: Pakistan government sends telegram to Mahajan about “large number of villages (in Poonch) that can be seen burning from Murree Hills” (in Pakistan), pointing out that as “Pakistan army obtains large number of recruits from Poonch”, situation is “fraught with danger” to “friendly relations” that Pakistan “wishes to retain with Kashmir”. Message asks for restoring order and discipline of Maharaja’s troops. Mahajan replies on October 15 complaining of “infiltration” from Pakistan and stating that his government is “prepared to have impartial inquiry made into the whole affair” to “remove misunderstandings” and restore cordial relations. Otherwise, he adds, his government will have “no option but to ask for assistance to withstand aggressive actions of what he described as “Pakistani people along our border”.
October 16: Shaikh Abdullah holds meeting with Maharaja. Mahajan sends his message with telegram to Quaid-e-Azam on October 18 stating that if Pakistan’s “extremely unfriendly acts” are not stopped, Maharaja’s government “will be justified in asking for friendly assistance”. Reply of Foreign Minister of Pakistan categorically denies Maharaja’s allegations; pointing out exodus of Muslims” from border areas of the State, and adds “We are astonished to hear your threat to ask for assistance from an outside power” with the object of completing “the process of suppressing the Muslims to enable you to join India as coup d’état against the declared will of 85 per cent of population of your State.” Message warns of “gravest consequences” if measures toward that end are not stopped. Finally, message states that Pakistan government appreciates suggestion of an impartial inquiry and asks Maharaja to “immediately to nominate your representative on the Enquiry Committee” whereupon “Pakistan government will nominate its representatives without delay so that the Committee can proceed at once with a thorough inquiry into the whole matter.”
A battalion of Patiala State forces – is brought into Kashmir on October 17; it takes up positions guarding Srinagar airfield and reinforces Maharaja’s garrison in Jammu.
October 20: Governor General of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah sends telegram to Maharaja deploring tone and language of Maharaja’s telegram which is “almost in the nature of an ultimatum”, pointing out that difficulties in supplies “have been felt actually by the Punjab government (in Pakistan) themselves” and refuting Mahajan’s “ex-parte” allegations in detail. Message stresses urgent necessity of meeting of representatives of Pakistan and asks Maharaja to help end acrimonious and bitter controversy and smooth out difficulties by sending representative to Karachi and also to cooperate in setting up an Enquiry Committee immediately.
October 22: Muslim soldiers of Maharaja’s army in Muzaffarabad sector – on the road to Srinagar – rise in mutiny and liquidate their commander and other officers. About 3,000 Pathan tribesmen, volunteers from areas not under Pakistan’s regular administration with small arms and driving in civilian lorries, commanded by Khurshid Anwar, enter State on October 22 and overrun whole Muzaffarabad-Uri area. Although lacking armoured transport, they rapidly advance towards Srinagar (October 22-26), overcome resistance by Maharaja’s force and, amidst jubilation of people along the way and with help from local civilians in building diversions in place of bridges destroyed by Maharaja’s retreating troops, reach Baramulla on October 25. R.L. Batra, Maharaja’s Deputy Prime Minister, is sent off to Delhi on October 23 with request for large-scale military assistance but without offer of accession unless insisted on by Indian government.
October 24: Establishment of Azad (free) Kashmir government declared with headquarters at Trarkhal inside Kashmir.
General Gracey, British acting Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan army, warns Pakistan Government on October 24 of “chaos in Kashmir” and urges that tribal leaders in Kashmir be “told categorically that policy of Pakistan government is strict neutrality”. News of planned Indian military operation reaches Pakistan army headquarters on October 26 but information not passed on to Governor General Quaid-e-Azam until evening of October 27. Immediately on receipt of it, Quaid-e-Azam orders Gen Gracey to send regular Pakistan troops to Kashmir to rectify situation. Gracey responds that action requires approval of Field Marshal Auchinleck, Pak-India Joint Supreme Commander. Auchinleck flies next morning to Lahore and represents to Quaid-e-Azam that sending Pakistan army to Kashmir will necessitate withdrawal of all British officers from the army and spell virtually total disorganization. Auchinleck suggests that, instead, Quaid-e-Azam invite Mountbatten and Nehru to Lahore in order to achieve peaceful settlement. Auchinleck’s suggestion is backed by Pakistan cabinet which recommends to Quaid-e-Azam to withdraw his order. On return to Delhi, Auchinleck impresses on Mountbatten that Quaid-e-Azam is enraged at what he regards India’s “sharp practice” and that Mountbatten and Nehru should meet Quaid-e-Azam in Lahore immediately to come to an agreement. In view of prospect of peaceful adjustment by decision at summit conference, Quaid-e-Azam accepts cabinet’s recommendation and withdraws his order for sending troops to Kashmir.
October 25: As Azad forces, including Pathan volunteers, advance towards Srinagar, Maharaja flees from his capital. Mahajan and Shaikh Abdullah fly to Delhi and confer separately with Nehru on October 25. Nehru assures Prime Minister Attlee of Britain on October 26 (copy of telegram sent to Pakistan Prime Minister two days later) that “question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to accede to India” and “question of accession must be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people”. Attlee cables next day “begging” Nehru not to let his answer to Maharaja’s appeal for aid “take the form of armed intervention” and suggests tripartite meeting of Prime Ministers of India, Pakistan and Maharaja to settle problem.
October 26: Indian government decides to rush troops to Kashmir, requiring Maharaja to accede to India and install Shaikh Abdullah as head of administration. Maharaja’s letter offering accession, drafted for him by Indian official, V.P. Menon, is preceded by Governor General Mountbatten’s letter of acceptance, drafted by same hand; the two letters are given dates of October 26 and 27, respectively. Mountbatten’s letter provides that “as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and her soil cleared of what was called as the “invader”, the question of the State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people”.
October 27: Indian troops are flown to Srinagar, early morning. First contingent encounters advancing detachment of Azad forces at a place 24 miles from Srinagar and is eliminated. Mountbatten personally supervises planning of Indian military operations.
October 28: Nehru invites Pakistan government’s “cooperation” in stopping “the raiders” (i.e. Azad forces) and assures Liaquat Ali that “accession is subject to reference to the people of the State and their decision”.
October 29: Pakistan’s reply cites Maharaja’s refusal to allow an impartial inquiry, killing of Muslims by his troops and conspiracy to create a situation for military intervention by India. The telegram, addressed both to Nehru and to Attlee, says that developments have revealed “existence of a plan for accession against will of the people possible only by occupation of the country (Jammu Kashmir) by Indian troops”. Message concludes that “Pakistan government cannot recognise accession of Kashmir to Indian Union achieved as it has been by fraud and violence.” Conflicting views appear at highest level of Indian government about proposed conference with Quaid-e-Azam. Mountbatten agreeable, Nehru most reluctant, Patel (and Menon) vehemently opposed. Conference is postponed until November 01. Nehru pleads illness and is relieved when Mountbatten lets him off. Finally, Mountbatten (accompanied only by Ismay, his personal adviser) flies to Lahore to meet Quaid-e-Azam.
October 31: Nehru communicates to Liaquat Ali that Kashmir’s accession has been accepted on condition that as soon as law and order have been restored “the people of Kashmir would themselves decide the question of accession”. He adds “Our assurance that we shall withdraw our troops from Kashmir as soon as peace and order are restored and leave the decision regarding the future of the State to the people of the State is not merely a pledge to your government but also to the people of Kashmir and to the world”.
November 2:Nehru repeats the same undertaking in a radio broadcast as, “we have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people … We will not, and cannot back out of it. We are prepared when peace and law and order have been established to have a referendum held under international auspices like the United Nations. We want it to be a fair and just reference to the people, and we shall accept their verdict.”Follow @kmsnewz