There is a need to spread awareness about what Pakistan did to Jammu and Kashmir in 1947

Seventy-three years ago, Pakistani tribals invaded Jammu and Kashmir. They killed tens of thousands of people, raped women, and plundered towns and villages. October 22, 1947 is the darkest day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, it is the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir that the government as well as the common public have come out to commemorate the day as Black Day. The National Museum Institute has organized a two-day symposium in Srinagar, Memories of 22 October 1947, to highlight the historical narrative of the day. Apart from this, hoardings talking about the Black Day came up in different parts of Srinagar a few days ago.

Appreciating the change and reiterating the need to retain the memory of the brutality which Pakistan resorted to 73 years ago, retired Major General of the Indian Army Harsha Kakar said, “It is now time to publicly acknowledge the brutality of Pakistan. That is something that is going to change the mindset. We should have done it long ago. But it’s never too late. They did the same story with Bangladesh. They were so brutal with them and automatically there was an uprising. So, we need to now project this mindset among the population that demands Pakistan to apologize for what it did.”

Asked what could have led to this big change after 73 years, Maj Gen Kakar (Retd) told India News Network that the removal of Article 370 had a major role to play. Up till August 2019, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which was funded from across, was stopping the local government to spread awareness about what happened back then. But, with the removal of Article 370 and the shutting down of Hurriyat, the government has been able to handle this.

"Up till now, the Hurriyat has played a major role. The Hurriyat was always pro-Pakistan and as it came up with the investigation by the ED and CBI that they were being funded from across. So, they made sure that this was never brought out in the public domain of the involvement of Pakistan. With the removal of Article 370 and the shutting down of the Hurriyat, the government is now free to project the true story of the way Pakistan treated Kashmir. So, I think, it has had a major impact which has now enabled the government to handle this,” he said.

Out of habit, Pakistan has always backed off from accepting the direct involvement in the invasion of J&K in 1947. It has always taken the route to sustain the false narrative about what happened back then. However, there are “slightly difficult to locate” pictures available that show that “Pakistan raiders officially surrendered to the Indian army,” the former Indian Army officer said.

To make the truth prevail, there is a need to exploit what Pakistan has said by spreading awareness through textbooks in schools and colleges, he added.

“The moment the truth is out and people in Kashmir come to know the way they handled, the way they acted in 1947, whatever little sympathy, Pakistan has managed to gain in Kashmir will be washed down and that is their biggest fear and that is something which we need to exploit by publishing every chapter of this incident in every book, in every school, at every level,” he said, reiterating the need to spread even more awareness.

No matter what Pakistan maintains, there was an invasion back then which led Maharaja Hari Singh to sign the Instrument of Accession with India. The Indian Army had fought back with high spirits.

Explaining how the Indian Army planned the counter-attack, Maj Gen Kakar (Retd) said, “What you had to do was secure your road access, clear the heights, which were dominating the road access, and ensure that the entire route and these areas were secured. So, that is how the army operated then -- securing the areas, ensuring the routes are open, ensuring that you had all communications, and ensuring that you controlled the major towns and areas around the towns and the heights which were actually dominating the towns.”

By November 8, 1947, the Indian forces secured Srinagar - the seat of power. The pushback continued till mid-November when the scale of war was reduced. The war continued with lower intensity till the end of 1948. The ceasefire agreement was officially signed in January 1949.